Strengths and Weaknesses in a Human Rights-Based Approach to International Development: An analysis of a rights-based approach to development assistance based on practical experiences

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The human rights based approach to development cooperation has found recent support from both development cooperation actors and NGOs active in developing countries. We set out to define this approach, how it is applied, and to identify its central agents and principal components. Through examples we show how the approach works in practice, and we identify and discuss three human rights principles that play particularly important roles in its implementation: (i) participation and inclusion, (ii) non-discrimination and equality, and (iii) accountability. We show that in terms of implementation, the approach is related to the processes of empowerment, forms of advocacy, and the use of legal instruments in defence of groups of people who are poor, discriminated against or marginalised. We conclude that a human rights based approach provides new avenues for providing help to vulnerable groups, but at the same time a poverty-oriented approach must continue to play an important role.
Original languageEnglish
JournalThe International Journal of Human Rights
Issue number5
Pages (from-to)664-680
Number of pages17
Publication statusPublished - 2018

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