This week, the Office of the President of the UN General Assembly (OPGA) is hosting a high-level session on the ‘Contributions of Human Rights and the Rule of Law in the Post-2015 Development Agenda’. Post-2015 targets that do not prioritise the social, economic, civil and political human rights of all people, or recognise the interconnected nature of these rights will continue to deepen the poverty of people left behind.
Protecting the rights of the poorest and most marginalized
In order to ‘leave no-one behind’, tackling extreme poverty and marginalisation, alongside rising and intersecting inequalities, must be a priority for both governments and the international community. This will require a rights-based, people-centred approach which prioritises social justice and recognises the need for long-term policies and programmes.
The research demonstrates that there are certain focus areas that need to be addressed to achieve sustainable positive change in the lives of the poorest and most marginalised. In our proposal for post-2015 targets we suggest three focus areas:
- Livelihoods and pro-poor infrastructure and development
- Participation and citizen action
- Tackling discriminatory norms
Post-2015 targets that do not prioritise the social, economic, civil and political human rights of all people, or recognise the interconnected nature of these rights will continue to deepen the poverty of people left behind. In relation to this there must be clear accountability mechanisms for all institutions, within the public and private sectors to ensure that human rights are fully respected.
Tackling discriminatory norms
We believe that tackling discriminatory norms to be critical to the role of human rights within the post-2105 framework. Participants in the research consistently expose discriminatory social norms and abuses of power at the local level as the main factors that impact on their capacity to overcome poverty and marginalisation. The rights and dignity of people with marginalised identities are systematically abused, excluding them from access to services and resources, and subjecting them to abuse because of intolerant attitudes. Participate research shows that a great deal of the worst prejudice and harm lies within families and local communities. Attention needs to be paid in these domains, as well as formally guaranteeing the respect of the individual and collective rights of these groups.
We propose four strategic targets, which are a distillation of the main messages from the research. We also provide an outline of example indicators that support a deeper understanding of the strategic targets and suggest potential directions for contextually relevant implementation.
Target 1: Access and quality of justice institutions, legal services, and the right to identity for people living in poverty and marginalization
Discriminatory social norms influence the development of unfair and inequitable justice systems that perpetuate these social norms, making access to justice and legal services unattainable for those most marginalised.
- % increase of people reporting confidence in accessing justice institutions and complaint mechanisms
- % increase of people supported to gain proof of their legal identity
Target 2: Institutions are free from discrimination and prejudice
Because of their poverty, informal livelihoods, ethnicity, religion, sexual identity, gender and/or disability, people endure stigma and humiliation at the hand of those institutions which are supposed to provide them with services and care.
- % increase of people in poverty who express confidence in being able to access services free from discrimination and prejudice
- Mechanisms are in place for filing complaints related to mistreatment, harassment and discrimination, that take into account language and cultural diversity
Target 3: Strengthened grassroots organisations of people living in poverty and marginalisation
Strong grassroots movements are crucial to building collective power in the fight against discrimination. An enabling environment for the development of such collectives is crucial.
- National legislation ensuring freedom of association, expression and media
- % increase in resources allocated to support community based campaigning organisations by those who are marginalized
Target 4: Resources, programmes and policies focus on shifting discriminatory attitudes and achieving behaviour change
Discrimination experienced within the family and community needs to be challenged; legislation alone is not sufficient. Work on attitudes towards people affected by TB and HIV/AIDS has shown that awareness raising and transformative education initiatives can be extremely effective.
- Number of ‘awareness raising’ and ‘sensitisation’ initiatives increases by X%
- % increase in policies and programmes that integrate components to overcome discrimination and achieve behavioural change