Karen Kenny, International Human Rights Network

Indivisibility: from theory to practice

Karen Kenny Co-Director, International Human Rights Network. www.ihrnetwork.org

1. Evolution of law and policy 1945-today – some moments * UN Charter * 1989 Convention on the Rights of the Child * 1993 Vienna Declaration on Human Rights and Programme of Action * 1997 UN Programme of Reform * 2000 Cotonou Agreement between European Union and African, Caribbean and Pacific States; 2001 Commission Communication 2. Theory and practice * 1994 Rwanda genocide * 1996 El Salvador peacekeeping operation and land reform * 2000 UN Development Assistance Framework pilot (e.g Colombia, Guatemala) * 2003 Ireland debate on bi-lateral aid to Uganda. 3. Integrating the full spectrum of human rights into the work of development and humanitarian actors

* The legal framework itself * The ‘human rights movement’ * The ‘development/humanitarian movement’

4. Addressing the gap – Human Rights Based Solutions

The commitment to fully integrate human rights is clear – but transforming work practices, and sometimes organisational ethos, remains the challenge. Support, based on core principles, needs to be tailored to each actor: Human Rights Based Solutions are founded on a holistic analysis of root causes as well as of opportunities for change. Such solutions are based on a number of inter-related imperatives – including the need to:

* Analyse systems and sectors as well as individual cases occurring (e.g health, education, justice). * Address cross-cutting human rights issues such as corruption, trade, gender, HIV/AIDs and key relationships (civil society, the state, international NGOs and inter-governmental organisations). * Identify the factors at play at all levels (local, national, regional and international). * Apply the international legal framework holistically with genuine indivisibility of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights - for accuracy, legitimacy and empowerment.

Human Rights Based Solutions require processes and not merely events

The de-mystifying of international human rights takes time. This involves making them accessible to those responsible for the ‘supply’ of human rights – as well as to those who need them to ‘demand’ change effectively, through participatory programming tools, guidelines, benchmarks and indicators. Change takes time. The key is to start, often with human rights impact assessments - and to consciously learn from that experience. The process must itself be based on human rights

* Real partnership with local human rights defenders, both state and non-state * Ensure meaningful participation founded on transparency * Focus on actual human rights changes – not on activity * Assess policy coherence and consistency (e.g. within and among international organisations and across areas of intervention)

Actively learning from experience

Costs of developing and enhancing Human Rights Based Solutions can be reduced, and synergies gained, by pooling knowledge and experience with like-minded actors at various levels. The major development, humanitarian and human rights bodies are working on some aspect of human rights based approaches – most often in isolation from each other. IHRN seeks to contribute to, and draw from these wider processes, gathering and testing examples of practice.