Promoting human rights

 Democratic Republic of the Congo. Photo: Sylvie Leichti/UN.

The pursuit of human rights promotes the freedom, dignity and worth of every person – especially marginalized groups — so too does the pursuit of human development.  The promotion of respect for human rights and redress for human rights violations are also crucial elements of UNDP’s assistance to countries affected by crisis. A Human Rights-based approach enables an understanding of the situation of these groups and individuals and helps to analyze complex power dynamics and structural inequalities. It also helps strengthen capacity and accountability of duty bearers and rights holders, and allows for more strategic and sustainable development programming. UNDP supports human rights for development in more than 100 countries in order to expand choices and protect rights and freedoms.

UNDP supports national efforts to promote and protect human rights by:

•        Strengthening the work of National Human Rights Institutions and accountability mechanisms: UNDP has supported over a hundred National Human Rights Institutions, Ombudsman institutions, equality and gender bodies and other independent oversight institutions in order to develop their capacities and enhance the role of human rights institutions as cornerstones in national human rights systems.

•        Supporting engagement with the international human rights machinery such as the Human Rights Councils’ Universal Periodic Review process (UPR): UNDP has supported Member States to collaborate with the human rights machinery and in particular, has been a key partner supporting governments participate in and follow-through with the Human Rights Council’s UPR.

•        Promoting the application of a human rights-based approach to development and crisis related programming including national development planning and recovery processes: To further ensure the mainstreaming of a human rights-based approach in its programming, UNDP launched the Social and Environmental Standards in January 2015. These standards explicitly include the human rights-based approach as an overarching, global principle for UNDP programming. The human rights-based approach is an engagement principle in UNDP’s current Strategic Plan (2014-2017).

UNDP collaborates extensively with partners to promote human rights in both peacebuilding and development contexts. Notably, a strategic partnership with both the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions, and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights was formed in 2011 to support inter alia participation of National Human Rights Institutions in the global discourse on development.