Unique Characteristics

Rights and Humanity is a hybrid organisation bridging a concern for human rights, sustainable development and peace. Our unique approach champions progress rather than blame, empowerment instead of handouts, responsibilities as much as rights.


Unique Role


Addressing the Root Causes of Injustice and Conflict
Rights and Humanity asks a better question: why are people starving? What can be done? We address the root causes of injustice by turning the vicious cycle of discrimination, impoverishment and social exclusion into the virtuous circle of equality, empowerment and human development. In so doing we reduce the poverty and injustice that fuel conflict and provide fertile ground for extremism.

Bridging Human Rights and Development

Rights and Humanity pioneered The Human Rights Approach to Development, now widely adopted by UN Agencies, governments and aid agencies around the world. This has moved the agenda on from handouts to entitlements, from charity to rights.

Rights and Humanity differs from traditional development organisations. Rather than just giving aid, we focus on building capacity, empowering individuals to seek and enjoy their fundamental human rights. At the same time we address the legal, structural and other obstacles which imprison people behind the bars of prejudice and disadvantage.

Focus on Practical Realisation of Human Rights
Rights and Humanity is also different from traditional human rights organisations which focus on monitoring and condemning human rights violations. Our work has opened up the space between human rights law and redress procedures by focusing on what needs to be done by governments to implement their human rights obligations in practice. In so doing, we have demonstrated how human rights standards should shape public policy across sectors.

Expertise on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights
Rights and Humanity has developed a specific expertise on the neglected branch of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. These rights, along with civil and political rights, are the bedrock of human development. We focus on getting the right to water into the glass, the right to healthcare into the community, women’s rights into women’s empowerment

Working Both Top Down and Bottom Up

We work top down and bottom up simultaneously. We are frequently hired by governments and UN agencies to write policy and develop strategies for implementation. At the same time, we undertake projects to empower people to help themselves and to prevent further impoverishment, facilitating channels of communication, participation and accountability between stakeholders.

Focus on Responsibilities as Much as Rights
One of our unique characteristics is that Rights and Humanity focuses on responsibilities as much as on rights. The achievement of human rights is not just about how governments behave, but also about corporate responsibility and how individuals treat one another – at work, in the community and within the family. Our education on human rights and responsibilities stresses the primary importance of respectful relationships.


Unique Approach

Promoting Human Rights as a Positive Agenda for Progress
Rights and Humanity has developed a unique approach using human rights norms and the principles of humanity as a positive objective framework for human development and the peaceful settlement of disputes. We focus on what can be done by various stakeholders, demonstrating the role they can play in achieving economic and social justice for all.                                                                                 We:

  • use human rights and responsibilities as an objective framework to develop solutions to global challenges
  • bring people together to focus on progress, finding solutions rather than apportioning blame – solutions that are just and beneficial to all
  • the tools of constructive dialogue, mediation, awareness building and education.

Seeking the Common Highest Vision
We facilitate dialogue between all stakeholders in non-threatening environments. We seek the highest common vision rather than the lowest common denominator, thereby facilitating a win/win outcome in which everyone recognises that their essential priorities have been included in the final result. We use human rights and responsibilities as an objective framework to benefit everyone – as the highest common vision between various sides in conflict, rather than as a tool for partisan engagement

Multi-faith, Multi-cultural, and Multi-disciplinary
From its very beginning, Rights and Humanity has been multi-faith, multi-cultural and multi-disciplinary in its philosophy, composition and action. This distinguishes us from most human rights organisations which are secular in character. We demonstrate that human rights law reflects values universally shared across humanity enabling us to build global consensus around a unified agenda to address specific issues – be it AIDS or equitable globalisation.

Inclusive, Participatory, Empowering and Cooperative

All our work is inclusive and empowering, respectful of the right of everyone to participate in decisions that affect their lives. Rights and Humanity has a cooperative approach, choosing to work with others whenever possible.

Putting Humanity into Human Rights
We put humanity into human rights. Our concern is not limited to one group of disadvantaged people; it is for humanity as a whole. In responding to human need, we combine intellect with compassion. We complement law with the nurturing of human dignity and the duties of mutual respect and solidarity.

Holistic and Unifying
Rights and Humanity has forged a unique role, prompting a holistic approach to human progress, recognising the interconnectedness between all spheres of human life and the interdependence between individuals and societies globally and between humanity and the planet that sustains life. Our approach is unifying, building bridges of understanding between people of difference.

Acting Behind the Scenes

Our aim is to encourage respect for human rights and responsibilities. What matters to us is that this is achieved, rather than that we take credit for the outcome. Our discretion and ability to act behind the scenes – being prepared to stay invisible where appropriate – is often critical to our ability to influence change and prompt action for progress.

Holding up a Mirror to the Organisation reveals our DNA/AND
The word ‘and’ in our title is significant. Our work is not about either/or, but about rights and responsibilities. We weave these two golden threads into the gritty business of ensuring the betterment of people’s lives. ‘And’ also indicates our collaborative and inclusive approach.

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