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Rights Based Approaches

"Recognising binding legal and moral obligation that governments (duty-bearers) have to support people (rights-holders)."

Spectrum supports a rights-based approach to development, recognising binding legal and moral obligation that governments (duty-bearers) have to support people (rights-holders).

This is different from a needs-based approach, which notes that people deserve help to support their needs, but does not impose obligations. For a rights-based approach both Standards and Principles are important.

  • Human Rights Standards are the minimum acceptable level of a desirable outcome
  • Human Rights Principles are criteria for an acceptable process.

Examples of Human Rights Standards are the eradication of hunger and malnutrition, universal primary education, child protection goals.

Examples of Human Rights Principles are equality and non-discrimination, participation and inclusion, accountability and rule of law. More traditional approaches to human rights are developing rapidly, and trends include moving:

  • From focus on civil and political rights to broader concern with all rights - economic, social and cultural
  • From a punishment focused approach to a more restorative approach involving constructive dialogue and positive support to assist change processes
  • From poverty alleviation as a development issue to poverty eradication as a matter of social justice and dignity.
  • From a state-centered approach to participatory approaches involving media, corporations, communities and individuals
  • From national to international global accountability.

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