Human rights and Human Rights Based Approach

For decades, the protection and promotion of human rights and support for the development of the most disadvantaged and at risk of poverty countries and communities have followed different paths.

Since the end of the 1990s, some important European NGOs have begun to adopt a new strategy, which assumed that human rights are a means of contributing to human development just as development is a means of guaranteeing effective enjoyment and enduring human rights.

The Human Rights Based Approach (HRBA), was considered on a theoretical level for the first time in the 2000 UNDP Human Development Report focused on human rights and recommended in 2005 by the then Secretary-General of the United Nations, Kofi A. Annan, to all UN agencies as a fundamental tool to use in their design and planning. According to this conception, international development cooperation must aim at the promotion and protection of human rights, i.e. guarantee access in the medium and long term to quality services and pursue the achievement of all freedoms (from hunger, poverty, discrimination, etc.). International development cooperation must not only satisfy the material needs of people but work to ensure that human rights are recognised, guaranteed, and effectively enjoyed. The HRBA thus draws a distinction with the traditional welfare approach, substituting human rights for needs and contributing to the resilience of communities.

VIS adopts this approach: the promotion and protection of human rights is included and across-cuts the projects carried out, it is the theme of advocacy campaigns and receives special attention in training and awareness-raising at local level. In 2002, VIS was one of the first NGOs in Italy to open a permanent human rights and advocacy office dedicated to this type of activity.

The HRBA foresees:

  • reference to international standards in the domain of human rights (starting from the Universal Declaration of Human Rights in 1948 and the other International Conventions in the field of human rights) in drafting and realizing projects;
  • reference to the United Nations and architecture of human rights at global and regional levels recommendations and respect and application of the human rights principles: indivisibility, universality, inalienability, interdependence and interconnection, non-discrimination and equity, participation and inclusion, responsibility and rule of law;
  • analysis of the context based on the identification of the rights holders and the duty bearers – governmental and non actors – and of the causes which prevent the full enjoyment of human rights.

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VIS is a nongovernmental organization established in 1986. Engaged in development cooperation, international solidarity it is also an educational agency promoting and organizing awareness raising, education and training in the field of sustainable development and global citizenship.

Believing the causes of extreme poverty can be tackled at their root through education and training, VIS aim is to improve the quality of life of children and youth in vulnerable situations together with their communities.

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Contact info

VIS Volontariato Internazionale per lo Sviluppo - ONLUS -  Nongovernmental organization promoted by the Centro Nazionale Opere Salesiane

Headquarters: Via Appia Antica 126, Rome
(+39) 06516291