Food for a Combative Thought

Your problem is my problemHuman rights: Food for a Combative Thought
Human Rights Reader 410

JUST AS CAPITALISM IS GLOBALIZED, WE MUST GLOBALIZE THE STRUGGLE FOR THE RIGHTS OF THOSE RENDERED POOR. (Roshan Bhati)

Keep in mind: The power of the people is stronger than the people in power. (Babu Owino)

Human rights embody a social learning process originating from social struggles for legal recognition

1. Human rights (HR) have to be demanded by those who are the victims of the existing unjust, discriminating structures. This is essential to ensure that HR are appropriately contextualized, are clearly linked to social mobilization, and are based on in-depth political analyses of national and global structures and policies.

2. But what we see is that people’s struggles and claims are constantly de-politicized and distorted by those in the service of the-power-of-the-day; distorting and misusing the HR vocabulary is often the cynical tactic integrated into their lingo. Consequently, in their hands, de-politization of the development agenda acts as a powerful tool to silence any dissent. The HR discourse is thus ideologically abused. Quite often too, their official references to HR principles and standards take the form of ‘soapbox oratory’ confirming there is no real intention to fulfill the realization of HR. Ultimately, therefore, HR projects are always at risk of becoming distorted-elite-driven-projects disconnected from those whose rights have been violated.

3. The conditions for the struggle for the realization of HR are thus dependent on a bottom-centered logic including the capacity of public interest civil society and social movements to organize ad-hoc campaigns at the national and transnational level. We cannot forget that the ‘political will’ of duty bearers must be pushed –and this depends on the capacity of local, national, and transnational civil society to push governments and relevant international agencies to be consequent with the HR framework –regardless of its complexities.(i)

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What’s Meaningful Participation?

Meaningful Participation by Alice WelbournWhat’s Meaningful Participation? A key question that requires many people to answer.

A diverse and dynamic group of activists, academics and public health officials are now collaborating on a new  project — All Aboard! This initiative, spearheaded by the IMAXI Cooperative, combines scientific research with the practical development of a new participatory tool that aims to make “Nothing about us without us” a reality in global health governance. We believe that by advancing the meaningful participation and accountable representation of the most affected communities within decision-making institutions, fewer people living with life-threatening and life-changing diseases / disabilities will be ‘left behind’ and left out of programmes to improve health and well-being.

Before tools to claim ‘seats at the tables’ of the policy-makers can be forged, we seek a broad-based consensus on what meaningful participation actually means. Below are a few elements – we like to know what else can be added to the mix.

• Meaningful participation is based on the principle that those who are affected by a decision have a right to be involved in the decision-making process.

• Meaningful participation includes the promise that the public’s contribution will influence the decision.

• Meaningful participation promotes sustainable decisions by recognising and communicating the needs and interests of all participants.

• Meaningful participation contributes broad, long-term stake-holding to policy development when supported in a sustainable manner.

• Meaningful participation seeks out and facilitates the involvement of those potentially affected by or interested in a decision.

• Meaningful participation seeks input from participants in designing how they participate.

• Meaningful participation provides participants with the information they need to participate in a meaningful way.

• Meaningful participation communicates to participants how their input affected the decision.

• Meaningful participation helps to assure that ‘no one will be left behind’ in the sustainable development agenda.

• Meaningful participation enables people to realise their rights to participate in, and access information relating to, the decision-making processes which affect their lives.

Please send us any further ideas or suggestions. Everyone’s welcome to “Write Your Rights” to a seat at the table.
Contact us.

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