6. What is a human rights based approach and how is it different from other development practices?

Human rights-based approach (HRBA)

Using a human rights-based approach (HRBA), development partners should direct their programmes to promote and protect human rights- based on agreed international human rights standards and principles. The approach seeks to identify groups and people whose rights are been violated, understand why certain people are unable to enjoy their rights, and redress unjust distributions of power that impede development progress. In this sense it identifies rights-holders and their entitlements and corresponding duty-bearers and their obligations, and works to strengthen the capacity of duty bearers to comply with their obligations and right holders to claim and exercise their rights.In that respect, human rights are the goals and guiding principles in development efforts: a human rights-based situation analysis is the basis for identifying priorities and action. The plan of action ensure that the human rights criteria (availability, accessibility, quality, affordability, acceptability) and principles (non-discrimination, participation, access to information, accountability and sustainability) are taken into account throughout the process, as well as develop the capacities of rights-holders to claim and realize their human rights and of duty-bearers to meet their obligations. Non-State actors are then expected to coordinate their activities with those by the State to ensure coherent and sustainable water and sanitation governance.

Other approaches

This section schematically presents the major differences between approaches followed by development partners and the theological and instrumental rationale for a human rights-approach.

Comparative Highlights between Human rights, Charity and Needs-based approaches

Source: Danish Institute for Human Rights, “Applying a Rights-based Approach.
An Inspirational Guide for Civil Society”, 2007, 10