Published: Dec 8, 2022 Reading time: 3 minutes
© PIN Armenia

In commemoration of Human Rights Day this year (10 December), People in Need (PIN) has launched a handbook on applying a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) to its development and humanitarian programming. The handbook articulates People in Need’s commitment to upholding human rights principles and standards in PIN’s delivery of development and humanitarian assistance worldwide.

The handbook, Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach to Development and Humanitarian Programming, aims to provide People in Need’s development and humanitarian programmes globally with a basic understanding and skills in applying the approach throughout various stages of project and programme design, implementation, and evaluation. The handbook contains a description of the theoretical framework of the approach, together with practical examples from PIN’s country programmes in Southeast Asia, Southern Africa, Eastern Europe, and the Middle East.

On the necessity of the handbook, Lauriane Gauny, Deputy Director of People in Need’s Relief and Development Department, said: “The development and release of this handbook is a response to emerging calls from the aid sector, and from People in Need internally for a thoughtful integration of human rights principles and standards into our work globally. The Handbook constitutes our latest effort to emphasise human rights as foundational values of everything that we do.”

WATCH VIDEO 1: People in Need’s Application of Human Rights-Based Approach: The Concept

The handbook starts by reminding development and humanitarian actors that commonly addressed needs, such as food, water, shelter, education, and employment, are all fundamentally human rights concerns. “By shifting the mindset of aid delivery from fulfilling needs to protecting human rights, People in Need can empower the people that we serve as individuals with rights, entitlements, dignity and a voice, and as people who have ownership over development and humanitarian assistance provided by both government and non-governmental actors”–said Lauriane Gauny.

In line with People in Need’s formulation of a new strategy for its humanitarian and development programmes 2022-2026, the handbook explores the implications of applying an HRBA on the three strategic pillars: Emergency Response and Recovery, Climate Resilience, and Civil Society and Inclusive Governance. Among other recommendations, the handbook proposes that PIN strengthens its accountability towards the people it serves, vigorous engagement with local civil society—including grassroots and indigenous communities—and due security precautions for high-risk civil society actors. The handbook highlights the importance of localising approaches according to the situation of civic space on the ground.

Bach Vu, People in Need’s Human Rights Advisor and author of the handbook, said: “The thinking that development, humanitarian, and human rights assistance are separate subjects is outdated. The ongoing humanitarian crises in some of the countries that People in Need works in, and their devastating toll on human rights of civilian populations, including their right to life, have urged us to no longer see needs and rights in complete isolation.”

“In terms of development aid, the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development has turned 36 years old this year. Most recently, in July 2022, the United Nations General Assembly adopted a resolution that declared access to a clean and healthy environment a universal human right. These factors, old and new, make the application of HRBA a timely and much-needed discussion,” – Bach Vu added.

WATCH VIDEO 2: People in Need’s Application of Human Rights-Based Approach: Practical Implications

In developing the handbook, the author consulted a variety of sources published by international organisations and international non-governmental organisations, in particular, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), the International Organization for Migration (IOM), the United Nations Population Fund (UNFPA), the European Commission, USAID, ActionAid, and Welthungerhilfe.

Interested colleagues and partners in and outside People in Need are welcome to refer to the Handbook and its Annexes for their information on HRBA. We appreciate feedback on the handbook and further sharing of experience, practice, and research work relevant to the handbook’s contents.

Comments and inquiries can be submitted here

Author: PIN

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