The human rights-based approach to development (HRBA) is a conceptual framework for the process of human development that is normatively based on international human rights standards and operationally aimed at promoting and protecting human rights. Supporters claim that the HRBA entails a comprehensive re-definition of the aims and approaches to development such that the boundaries between human rights and development disappear. Indeed, many argue that the HRBA enjoys several advantages over traditional development strategies, including meaningful participation of the poor in policy, the design and implementation of anti-poverty policy and the ability to hold power holders to account for policy failures.
The growing popularity of the linkage between human rights and poverty reduction in the development discourse, however, appears – to many development practitioners and policymakers – to be more an exercise in rhetorical appeal than actual impact. I begin with a critical examination of the normative foundations of the HRBA. Thereafter I focus on the right to food and argue that while there is a rich and growing literature on the topic, we must better understand how global theory can be operationalised into effective national and local practice. Based on empirical evidence from India and Malawi, I discuss the challenges associated with implementing development programmes at national, regional and local levels and the conditions under which an increased focus on human rights can be useful in promoting overall human development.
Violence against women and children in the form of harmful traditional practices remains one of the most pressing challenges facing the international human rights community. This article discusses the applicability of the due diligence obligation from the perspective of human rights and refugee law. Dilemmas relating to discriminatory legislation and/or social norms, as well as non-responsive courts and police complicate the assessment of a state’s willingness and ability to protect victims within asylum determination. Similarly, the familiar context in which non-state actors pursue forced marriage, honour killing, female genital mutilation, and domestic violence upon their relatives prompts adjudicative institutions to apply creative analysis to avoid assignment of state responsibility, thereby denying protection.
We use an original survey to both ascertain US citizens’ attitudes about the use of torture, and to begin to explore why they have these views. While there exists widely-agreed-upon findings regarding the state-level determinants of government respect for human rights such as torture, much less is understood about either the distribution or formation of individual citizens’ attitudes about human rights. Our investigation of the formation of citizen attitudes about torture goes beyond the overly-simple explanation of respondents’ party identification used in the media by examining how respondents’ exposure to violence, and their levels of empathy, tolerance, as well as general conformity-related attitudes might affect their views about torture. Further, we go beyond asking abstract questions about torture and, instead, ask respondents about their attitudes towards particular torture techniques. We use this information to construct the Torture Acceptability Index (TAI) to measure individuals’ overall level of acceptance of torture. Our findings from empirical analysis confirm our hypotheses that there exists a statistically significant relationship between several psycho-social factors and individual attitudes towards torture, even accounting for one’s party identification.