Rights and Humanity’s unique work since 1986, has proven that human rights law and the values we share across faiths and cultures provide an effective framework for achieving economic and social justice.
Our many achievements include:
Pioneering the human rights approach to development
which recognises that all individuals have their own unique potential, only needing the freedom and opportunity to enjoy universally endorsed human rights. This tackles the discrimination and exclusion that are root causes of impoverishment.
We have relentlessly encouraged this shift in policy so it is now central to poverty-elimination efforts by the UN, governments and NGOs worldwide. For example:
- In 1997, the UK Government’s Department for International Development commissioned our book entitled “A Human Rights Approach to Development” as a basis for the Government’s international policy, and hired us to train its staff.
- We advised the South African Government on integrating human rights into the Constitution. Our address to the Constitutional Assembly in 1996, was instrumental in ensuring inclusion of the rights to water, food, healthcare, housing and education.
Identifying the practical measures to be taken by governments and other sectors of society to secure realisation of human rights
We have developed a new approach to human rights work by promoting the practical implementation of human rights obligations, which complements the work of other organisations that monitor violations. We have successfully demonstrated the integration of human rights principles into public policy and practice.
- We developed an international consensus contained in the Rights and Humanity Declaration and Charter on HIV/AIDS, published by the UN in 1992. This was the first text to explain how to respect human rights and dignity in the response to the pandemic and set the basis for global policy and action affecting many thousands of people.
- We advised the Jordanian Government on developing a National Action Plan for Human Rights and facilitated Community Action Plans through empowerment workshops across the country.
Building consensus between governments on controversial and sensitive Issues
- We resolved deadlock between Islamic and Western states at the Beijing World Conference on Women, 1995, forging a joint commitment by 189 countries to provide adolescent girls with health information and services.
- We forged consensus between Israeli and Arab delegates on issues relating to the Holocaust and the suffering of the Palestinian people at an emergency meeting hosted by us in preparation for The World Conference Against Racism, Durban, 2001.
Widening education in human rights and responsibilities beyond the legal field to include many different professions
- Between 1992-95, we helped establish the Jagiellonian University Centre for Human Rights, Krakow, Poland, providing training for academics in various disciplines and summer schools for university lecturers from across East, Central and West Europe.
- In 1992, we established and taught the first known university course on economic, social and cultural rights at Essex University, UK.
- We have trained the staff of the UN, e.g. UNDP, WHO, UNAIDS, UNCTAD, governments and civil society organisations including BBC World Service, McKinseys Consulting and WaterAid.