Beware: Verify the HRBA!

Beware! Verify HRBACaveat Emptor (Let the buyer beware)
Human Rights Reader 26

Beware: The fashion is out. Everybody wants to jump onto the bandwagon of Human Rights.

It is coming to our attention that to be ‘up to the times’ a number of donors and NGOs are telling us that their programs have incorporated participatory approaches to their development, health and nutrition programs. They see those being an “essential” part of Human Rights, because they build activities around the express needs of the beneficiaries.

But this is NOT what the Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) is about!

Such programs must be retooled to adopt the full Human Rights paradigm to deserve being called such, i.e. the goal of them should be achieved through interventions founded in international Human Rights law that will provide the legal basis for interventions that will ultimately underscore the host governments’ fault at fulfilling its obligations to redress the violation of Human Rights of its citizens.

To bring about a reversion of the violations requires changing/adapting ongoing programs’ objectives to the Human Rights framework (the difference is one between just delivering the usual services, and making it clear to beneficiaries that they are legally entitled to specific services and can go somewhere to complain if they do not receive what is due them; people need to know what commitments have been made to them).

Read more…

Trumped Again! Fight the Gag Rule!

Fight the Gag RuleTrumped again: reinstating the global gag rule

This unilateral action must not be allowed to derail women’s right to sexual and reproductive health
By Sarah Hawkes and Kent Buse

There was nothing unexpected about President Trump’s reinstatement of the Mexico City policy (known as the global gag rule) in the first days of his presidency. Trump’s administration is the latest in a line of American presidencies that have played fast and loose with sexual and reproductive health and rights. After the 1973 historic Roe v Wade ruling upholding the rights of American women to decide whether to terminate a pregnancy,1 Senator Jesse Helms supported an amendment to the 1961 Foreign Assistance Act to ensure that no US funds could be used to pay for abortions “as a method of family planning or to motivate or coerce any person to practice abortions.”2

Variations on the Helms amendment have shuffled back and forth across the American legislature in the ensuing four decades, but the Mexico City policy, enacted under President Reagan in 1984, proved to be the most contentious because it restricted US funding to foreign non-governmental organisations (NGOs) that provide voluntary abortion services, even if those services do not use American funds directly for abortions.3 This policy was overturned by President Clinton (1993), reinstated by President G W Bush (2001), rescinded again under President Obama (2009), and re-established by President Trump.

Trump’s version, however, goes further and requires implementation of a plan “to extend the requirements of the reinstated Memorandum to global health assistance furnished by all departments or agencies.”3 In other words, it potentially restricts American funding not only to foreign NGOs but to all other recipients that enable the provision of safe abortion services; this could include governments as well as the United Nations system.

Read more…