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Elements of a Human Rights-Based Approach

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1 Elements of a Human Rights-Based Approach
EQUITAS – International Centre for Human Rights Education – January 2014

2 “We will not enjoy development without security, we will not enjoy security without development, and we will not enjoy either without respect for human rights. Unless all these causes are advanced, none will succeed.” Kofi Annan “In Larger Freedom: Towards Development, Security and Human Rights For All”, Report of the United Nations Secretary General, May 2005.

3 United Nations Charter, UDHR
A bit of history ... HRBA at the UN level United Nations Charter, UDHR Economic, social and cultural rights Cold War Civil and political rights The linkages between peace and security, development and human rights are not new; indeed they lie at the heart of the United Nations. Article 1 of the UN Charter describes the purposes and principles of the organisation as follows: The Purposes of the United Nations are: To maintain international peace and security,: To develop friendly relations among nations based on respect for the principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and to take other appropriate measures to strengthen universal peace; To achieve international co-operation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character, and in promoting and encouraging respect for human rights and for fundamental freedoms for all without discrimination as to race, sex, language or religion; and To be a centre for harmonising the actions of nations in the attainment of these common ends. The World Conference on Human Rights (1993): the reaffirmation human rights as a priority objective of the UN; the attention to human rights as a legitimate concern of the international community, the acknowledgement that all human rights are universal, indivisible and interdependent and interrelated, and that “while development facilitates the enjoyment of all human rights, the lack of development may not be invoked to justify the abridgement of internationally recognised human rights”. In 1997 the SG presented his plans for the UN Reform in his report to the GA (Renewing the UN : A Programme for Reform). The report reaffirmed that HRs are vital to all the goals set out in the UN Charter and that at heart of the UN reform and called to mainstream HRs in all the activities of the UN. In 2000 Millennium Summit/ Millennium Declaration In 2002 UN SG: Human rights are the bedrock requirement for the realization of development and a principal objective of the Organization. UN should strive to put in place and strengthen human rights national promotion and protection systems. In 2005 the SG stresses that development, peace and security and human rights go hand in hand and argues that HRs must be incorporated in to decision making and discussions throughout the work of the Organization. Peace and Security: humanitarian action Copenhagen Cairo UN Reform Agenda Vienna Beijing 1997/2010 Source: UNDAF (HRBA Portal) 3

4 HRBA and CSO effectiveness
“CSOs are effective as development actors when they develop and implement strategies, activities and practices that promote individual and collective human rights, including the right to development, with dignity, decent work, social justice and equity for all people.” Istanbul Principle No. 1 To realize this principle, the HRBA directs us to: Use international human rights standards as a foundation of our work Build meaningful participation of those at the receiving end of our development efforts into each and every stage of programming Address the power imbalance between duty-bearers and rights-holders, as well as the responsibility of the former towards the later, through our initiative Focus on marginalized groups Strive not only to realize the rights of target groups, but more importantly to empower them to be able to claim those rights themselves

5 A bit of history ... ActionAid’s perspective
“The primary impetus for changing our approach was recognising that poverty is a violation of human rights. Poverty arises principally because human rights have been denied. If we want to end poverty it is necessary to protect, promote and fulfill the human rights of people living in poverty. We see people living in poverty as the leading agents in their development process and in challenging unequal power and injustice.” The 1970s : The 1970s were mainly a time of charity and welfare, where we did not challenge the overarching system of injustice and inequality. We provided school uniforms and equipment to sponsored children and direct assistance to their families. But we became increasingly aware that our focus on individual children was random and unjust. The 1980s: we moved beyond individual children and schools as the main focus of our work. We included the families and communities that children are part of. We focused mainly on meeting the basic needs of communities – supplying physical essentials such as seeds, farming equipment, construction materials, pumps, wells and taps for drinking water. While this improved the “quality” of life of those we reached to some extent, our efforts were a drop in the ocean. Many of our initiatives were unsustainable. This approach did not tackle the unequal power that results in unequal distribution of resources in the first place. The 1990s: Supporting the empowerment of communities Our focus during the 1990s was sustainability and empowerment. Our thinking was that since the state could not meet the needs of people, we would support communities to help themselves. We helped set up local farmers’ cooperatives, community schools and non-formal education centres. We also continued to give people the resources they needed to make a living. We realised that helping communities run their own services is not a sustainable long-term solution to poverty and injustice. We also realised that without strong grassroots organisations and movements putting pressure on the state, we could not achieve and sustain the systems changes we wanted – such as strong education systems and health services for all. Finally, we learned that we were inadvertently trapping women in marginalised positions when we organised them to address the needs of others – their husbands, children, the disabled, the sick and even “the community”. From the late 1990s: working for HR In some places we still run programmes directly, and we do address basic needs. But the major difference is that we work in partnership with local people as rights activists, and allow them to shape our priorities, strategy, plans and budgets. Our basic needs delivery work, such as building schools and providing water pumps directly, brings real improvements to people’s lives. However, done within a rights-based approach it delivers much more, becoming a vehicle for organising people, building their analysis and piloting alternatives. Source: Action Aid

6 What is a human rights-based approach?
A conceptual framework that equates development to the realization of all human rights for all Based on international human rights standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights Views development as human development and socio-economic development Emphasizes process and not only results HRBA views development as human development, not simply as economic development. It focuses on the rights and dignity of the most marginalized populations and aims at bringing about a fundamental shift in the power relationship between duty-bearers and rights-holders. It emphasizes that the process and not just the results matter. Although the OHCHR has provided a standard definition of HRBA (see box above), the reality is that often organizations on the ground work with different understandings of HRBA. Assumed in the rights-based approach is the fact that every human being is inherently a rights-holder who should enjoy universal human rights that must be guaranteed. By ratifying the different United Nations human rights treaties, states automatically assume the principal roles of guaranteeing these rights (i.e. to respect, protect and fulfill), or, according to the HRBA language, states are the ‘principal duty-bearers’. There are other non-state entities (civil society organizations) that have obligations to respect, protect and fulfill the rights of people. Some literature refers to these non-state entities as the ‘moral’ duty bearers. Source:

7 The principles of HRBA Direct links to human rights Participation
Accountability Non-discrimination and equality Empowerment Direct links to human rights: the goal of HRBA work is to use human rights standards as the foundation for all development work in all sectors and in all phases of programming, from planning to implementation, with the goal of promoting human rights and human dignity for all. Participation: HRBA creates channels for the participation of a broad spectrum of stakeholders, including, poor and disadvantaged people, minorities, indigenous peoples, women children and youth. HRBA promotes active, meaningful and continuous voluntary participation; it stresses that developing capacities for participation is an important result in itself. Accountability: HRBA in programming demands that duty-bearers be identified and held accountable for the violation or neglect of human rights. In this sense, one of the fundamental contributions of HRBA is the emphasis it places on challenging the power imbalance between duty-bearers and rights-holders. Non-discrimination and equality: HRBA gives particular attention to non-discrimination, equality, equity and marginalized groups (which may include women, minorities, indigenous peoples, prisoners and the poor). A HRBA requires that the question of who is marginalized be answered locally. From this perspective, people are not seen as beneficiaries, but as rights-holders. Empowerment: HRBA aims to give rights-holders the capacity and the power to claim their human rights and hold duty-bearers accountable. (UNDP 2005). HRBA to development differs from both the charity and the needs approach. The evolution of these dominant development paradigms is summarized in the Table 1 below.

8 Rights-holders and duty-bearers
A rights-holder: is entitled to rights is entitled to claim rights is entitled to hold the duty-bearer accountable has a responsibility to respect the rights of others A duty-bearer: has the obligation to respect, protect, and fulfill the rights of the rights-holders The overall responsibility for meeting human rights obligations rests with the State. This responsibility includes all the organs of the State such as parliaments, ministries, local authorities, judges and justice authorities, police and teachers. All these are legal duty-bearers. Every rights-holder has the responsibility to respect the rights of others. In this sense you can say that every individual or institution that has the power to affect the lives of rights–holders is a moral duty-bearer – the greater the power, the larger the obligation to fulfill and especially to respect and protect the human rights of others. In this sense private companies, local leaders, civil society organizations, international organizations, heads of households, and parents, and in principle every individual are moral duty-bearers. You should remember that the State as a legal duty-bearer also has a duty to regulate the actions of moral duty-bearers – e.g. parents, companies etc. – to ensure that they respect human rights. Sources: The Danish Institute for Human Rights. (2007). Applying a Rights-Based Approach: An Inspirational Guide for Civil Society. Available online: Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Human Rights. A Basic Handbook for UN Staff. Available online:

9 The example of Tusonge Individual and organization profiles
Aginatha Rutazaa, a single mother of two, set up her own organization named Tusonge - CED – a Swahili word meaning “Let’s move forward” of which she is the Managing Director. Tusonge - CED was established in recognition of the challenges facing communities in the Kilimanjaro region at grassroots level. The organization provides the necessary space for marginalized communities such as women and youth to engage, explore and appreciate resources available locally, with a focus on undertaking social transformation and improving their livelihood over the long term. Focus on marginalized groups The community women with whom Aginatha worked lived in the Majengo Ward in the Moshi municipality, in the Kilimanjaro region. These women faced a number of challenges, including the following: living in an entrenched patriarchal culture; subject to abject poverty living from hand-to-mouth; selling second hand clothes in the market; many infected by HIV/AIDS and cast out; unable to properly care and feed themselves and their families; and, lacking the necessary support systems to improve their livelihoods. One of the major challenges was that these women did not own property, thus making it harder for them to access credit without collateral. The women faced numerous human rights violations such as the rights to health and housing, the right to non-discrimination including in the area of inheritance, and the right to participate effectively in decisions which affected them. Aginatha worked with these marginalized women in her community in order for them to improve their livelihoods and secure an income over the longer term. In particular, by adopting a participatory approach in the human rights education activities she was conducting with the community she contributed to empowering the women to seek their own solutions to issues they were facing in their day-to-day lives. A holistic approach Of particular importance in this process was the use of the spiral learning model as the framework for putting human rights principles into action in her work with the women. Using the spiral learning model involved starting with the experience and knowledge of the women and having them critically analyze that experience from a human rights-based perspective. The aim was to surface patterns that could be used to form a collective picture that included all of their voices and recognized the differences as well as the similarities. This analysis also involved looking at power relations and determining who benefited most or least from whatever was going on. The women also practiced new skills (see examples listed below), developed appropriate strategies and planned effective actions to successfully bring about the desired changes. As part of this process the actions planned were then carried out at the community level. In this way, these marginalized women were able to appreciate their own context and recognize existing opportunities to alleviate poverty, by drawing on their own resources. By incorporating the participatory HRE approach into workshops and training activities, Tusonge provided the following: Skills in leadership and entrepreneurship; Skills in participatory planning processes and action plans over the long term; Technical support on how to develop strategic business plans and run businesses effectively; Capacity to integrate women’s rights and a gender perspective in all development plans of local government; Skills to conduct evaluation of community and business projects. Sustainable results backed by international standards Further to Tusonge’s HRE activities, women began to understand their rights and mobilise to claim them, in particular their right to inheritance and own property. This resulted in the capacity of women to take control of their lives and solve, themselves, the human rights issues they were facing. More specifically, 270 women in the community formed their own groups for economic empowerment which led to the following results: Greater confidence in running their own businesses; Increase in individual income from 500 to 5,000 tsh per day (28 cents to 2.8 USD); Increase in working capital for individuals from 50,000 to 500,000 tsh (28 to 280 USD); Increased ability to record and document daily business transactions; Creation of a “credit circle” in support of other community members to realize their rights. Currently, the 270 women, making up 9 groups of 30 members, meet once a week to share their learning and the key challenges they are facing in realizing their entrepreneurship initiatives. These groups mobilize to explore and use the available local resources to strengthen their economic rights and support each other. In a participatory manner, they monitor and track changes of their small business initiatives and identify the way forward on a weekly basis. In 2012, the women’s groups plan to officially register their association of women entrepreneurs in Majengo ward.

10 From needs to rights approach
Charity Approach Needs Approach Empowerment Approach Rights-based Approach ‘Giving to people’ ‘Development for people’ “Development with people’ ‘Development by people’

11 Challenges Lack of capacity and expertise to work with human rights concepts Lack of resources and support to integrate HRBA Resistance from target populations and their societies Difficulty identifying and working with local partners and building real participation Many of these challenges are the same for others. For HRBA, the political aspect can also be difficult. It is important to find the right partners who ‘balance’ development and HR.

12 How to implement HRBA – a five-step process
Context analysis in human-rights terms Identify rights-holders and duty-bearers Capacity analysis (rights-holders and duty-bearers) Identify results and indicators Identify entry points Apply principles at all stages You will have to work on these elements using your own case study.

13 HRBA - defining results
HRBA helps to answer four critical questions: Who - Whose life do we want to change? Who has been left behind ? Why? Which rights are at stake?  Who has to do something about it?  What do they need, to take action? Process and outcome are equally important A human rights-based approach brings to RBM the use of a conceptual framework to understand the causes of fulfilment or not of human rights and in doing so brings to light the underlying issues that impede development progress. Based on international human rights standards and principles, a human rights-based approach develops the capacity of rights-holders to claim their rights and duty-bearers to fulfil their obligations. Apart from its normative value as a set of universally agreed values, standards and principles, a human rights-based approach leads to better and more sustainable results. It does so by analyzing and addressing the inequalities, discriminatory practices and unjust power relations that are often at the heart of development problems and which pose a serious threat to development progress if left unaddressed. Broken down, human rights-based results focus on the following three main elements: changes in the capacities of the duty-bearers to fulfil their obligations and rights-holders to enjoy their rights, enabling environmental organizational and individual capacities focus on discrimination and the most marginalized; the extent to which human rights principles have been incorporated into the development process.  Who has been left behind Assessment from a human rights and gender perspective helps to determine whether, and where, a problem or challenge exists, its intensity and who is affected. It reviews the trends in development indicators using sex-disaggregated data and it highlights disparities: where these occur, who are most affected and how many are affected. The HRBA adds value to this assessment by relating the situation to the human rights obligations in the international instruments ratified by each country. This data-driven assessment will help to identify patterns of discrimination and inequality, and describe the situation of groups excluded and made vulnerable due to the denial of their rights.  Why? Which rights are at stake? Human rights standards are a minimum in practice and a standard of achievement (as per Universal Declaration) which are necessary to expand the freedoms and opportunities inherent to human development. The "why" links with the causal analysis and will help us visualize how human rights principles can help identify persistent patterns of discrimination, exclusion, impunity and powerlessness. Causality analysis should lead to the identifications of immediate, underlying and root causes.  Who has to do something about it? It is important to identify, specifically, who are the duty bearers and rights holders– those with obligations to act Caution! It is easy to imply that action should be taken only by duty bearers. Presenters should emphasise that the "who" in "who has to do something about it" includes both duty bearers and rights holders.  What do they need, to take action? The “they” in the final question refers to both rights holders and duty bearers and help identify critical capacity gaps that prevent action. At the underlying and root levels, these capacity gaps will nearly always involve gaps in legal, institutional, policy, and financial (budget) frameworks. Action in the political and economic environment may be critical for empowering rights-holders and develop the capacities of duty-bearers. Rights-based causality analysis should be used to strengthen ongoing or planned country analysis and to bring some influence to the preparation or review of National development plans, including PRSPs. Reports from international, regional and national human rights mechanisms are key sources of information that should be used during the analysis. 13 13

14 HRBA and change Process is guided by human rights principles RBM
Impact: change in… Outcome: change in… Output: change in … HRBA …quality of life (the realization of human rights) … performance (behaviours of duty bearers and/or right holders and their institutions) …the capacity of duty bearers and right holders Causal Analysis Role Analysis Human rights based approach. The human rights-based approach brings to RBM the use of a conceptual framework to understand the causes of fulfillment or not of human rights and in doing so brings to light the underlying issues that impede development progress. It is based on international human rights standards and principles and develops the capacities of rights-holders to claim their rights and duty-bearers to fulfill their obligations. Apart from its normative value as a set of universally agreed values, standards and principles, HRBA leads to better and more sustainable results. It does so by analyzing and addressing the inequalities, discriminatory practices and unjust power relations that are often at the heart of development problems and which pose a serious threat to development progress if left unaddressed. The box below highlights HRBA within the RBM context. What does a human-rights-based approach (HRBA) add to RBM? While RBM is a management tool to help reach a desired result, HRBA is a framework that helps define the results and the process by which they are achieved. HRBA specifies who should be the subject of programming results: rights-holders and duty-bearers: -Outcomes should reflect the improvement in the performance or the strengthened responsibility of the right-holder and duty-bearer resulting from institutional or behavioural change. -Outputs should close the capacity gaps. Capacity Gap Analysis Conclusions and recommendations from Univeral Periodic Review, Treaty Bodies, and Special Procedures help to identify specific behaviours and capacities 14

15 Normative elements of human rights
Availability Accessibility non-discrimination physical accessibility economic accessibility (affordability) Acceptability quality Adaptability appropriateness Human rights are both freedoms of action and entitlements to goods, services, institutions and resources necessary for a life of dignity. Entitlements are implicit in human rights and better identified through the normative elements of each human right; generally speaking, normative elements include: availability, physical accessibility, economic accessibility, information accessibility, quality, safety and cultural acceptability. It is important to note that entitlements vary depending upon the normative content of the right. The normative elements of human rights … are influenced by a variety of factors, many of which are within state control. These factors include, among others, infrastructure, power and energy, public transportation, traffic management and control, peace and order services, emergency services, agrarian reform, urban land reform, trade, national budget, land use regulations, investment climate, taxation, environmental policies, regulation, science and technology, etc. These factors may, in turn, be influenced by other factors that may or may not be under state control (population growth, migration, external environment, weather patterns, culture, etc.) Availability : facilities, services, goods and programmes must be available in sufficient quantity within the State party. Accessibility: facilities and services relating to the enjoyment of any given right have to be accessible to everyone without discrimination. Accessibility has four overlapping dimensions: i) physical accessibility meaning that facilities and services must be within safe reach for all sections of the population; ii) economic accessibility meaning that facilities and services must be affordable for all and whatever costs and charges involved must not compromise or threaten the realization of other rights; iii) non-discrimination meaning that facilities and services must be accessible to all including the most vulnerable or marginalized sections of the population, in law and in fact without discrimination on any of the prohibited grounds; and iv) information accessibility which includes the right of everyone to seek, receive and impart information concerning the right question. Acceptability: laws, policies, strategies, programmes and measures should be formulated and implemented in a way that is acceptable by the individuals and communities involved. Consultation and participation processes are key in this context. Adaptability: requires strategies, policies, programmes and measures adopted by States parties to be flexible and relevant so as to respond to the needs of changing societies and communities and to the needs of different within their diverse social and cultural settings. Quality: facilities, services and goods relating to the enjoyment of any given right must be scientifically appropriate and of good quality. Appropriateness: refers to the realization of a specific human right in way that is pertinent and suitable to a given cultural modality or context, that is, respectful of the culture and cultural rights of individual and communities, including minorities and indigenous peoples. 15

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