6
A Rights-Based Approach
to Development

In the previous chapters on conditionality and positive support, the concepts of development and human rights remained separate; rights were a (usually small) complement to development work—either a consideration to be added when making funding decisions or a sector to be funded in addition to other, “regular” development fields. Even though the saliency of human rights had increased, the latter were still considered to be logically distinct concepts, aims, or practices—and, let’s face it, from the perspective of most development professionals, clearly secondary.

At a higher level of integration, however, a new paradigm of rightsbased development is emerging among certain agencies. At this level, development and rights become different but inseparable aspects of the same process, as if different strands of the same fabric. The boundaries between human rights and development disappear, and both become conceptually and operationally inseparable parts of the same processes of social change. At this, the highest level of integration I discuss in this book, development comes to be redefined in terms that include human rights as a constitutive part. All worthwhile processes of social change are simultaneously rights based and economically grounded, and should be conceived of in such terms. This makes intuitive sense, for at the level of human experience these dimensions are indeed inseparable (Craig Scott 1999, 635–36).

A story may illustrate the point well. A few months into the refugee crisis in Zaire that began in the summer of 1994 after the Rwandan genocide, a colleague went to Goma for an assessment of the health and nutrition situation in the camps. Upon return, he told me that nutrition intakes in the camps were high, as were vaccination rates and access to health care. As a matter of fact, he added proudly, these rates were better than

-122-

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Human Rights and Development
Table of contents

Table of contents

  • Title Page iii
  • Contents v
  • Boxes and Tables vii
  • Acknowledgments ix
  • Abbreviations and Acronyms xi
  • Introduction 1
  • Part I - Some Debates of Relevance to the Development Practitioner 7
  • 1 - Background 9
  • 2 - The Legal Challenges 17
  • Part II - Human Rights in the Practice of Development 45
  • 3 - The Basics 47
  • 4 - Political Conditionality 56
  • 5 - Positive Support 83
  • 6 - A Rights-Based Approach to Development 122
  • 7 - Final Synthesis and Questions 167
  • Notes 203
  • Bibliography 211
  • Index 227
  • About the Author 241
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