About Inhuman Wrongs

Read_Rise_KnowYourRights_px203Food for a broadly endorsed thought
Human Rights Reader 259


Is it facetious to say that ever more people are ever more worse-off?

1. Human Rights (HR) provide an authoritative legal and moral framework to tackle the deep-rooted causes of the ‘inhuman wrongs’ of poverty and discrimination, i.e., the ongoing global processes of impoverishment. (U. Baxi) The HR framework deals not only with legal justice (which is the primary preoccupation of older, traditional human rights organizations), but also with economic and social justice which is as central to development work. To deal with both of these, many development actors –development organisations, donors and governments– are now actively integrating HR into development planning. Many of the latter are integrating HR into poverty reduction (disparity reduction) strategies as many more community-based organisations are advocating for themselves for their economic, social and cultural rights.

2. The HR framework offers distinctive strengths and specific tools to change the direction of development work. It makes individuals the owners of HR and puts the human person at the center of the development process. People are viewed as active agents who participate actively in decision-making. The-human-right-to-live-life-in-dignity (adequate housing, nutrition, education, healthcare, access to a decent livelihoods and to employment opportunities) is now seen as an inalienable HR to which everyone is entitled. This fundamental shift from charity/service delivery to HR moves the poorest members of our societies from a position of vulnerability to a position of strength and, therefore, from a position of powerlessness to a position of power. (Dignity International)

3. The Human Rights-based approach (HRBA) is not to be seen as an action plan, but rather as an enabling framework that has received broad and representative endorsement. Alone it has no teeth; leadership is indispensable to applying the HRB framework as a process.

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How to build from the bottom of the pyramid

world_pyramidIt’s not rocket science. It doesn’t take a higher degree in global economics to understand the current trends. Hard times have come for 90 percent of the world’s population. For those who are ill, or may become sick in the coming years, hard times may be catastrophic and deadly.
No longer can we depend on international donors. Nor can we trust in on our governments to honor their obligations to provide the health services we need. No longer can we expect our ‘leaders’ to lead on making the Right to Health a reality for all. From the recent Hi-Level Meetings at the UN, it’s evident that the needs of the lower levels are not the interest of the few who decide policies.
In these times there is really no alternative: communities must rapidly develop the capacity to respond to cut backs, stock-outs and close-downs. The urgent need is to empower ourselves, our peers, our families and neighbors as the first step towards our communities taking a greater role in treatment, care, prevention, education and advocacy.
It’s now vital to discuss, share and explore how to, collectively, get past all the jargon about “community empowerment”  which too often comes from writers in the Ivory Towers and not the community. What practical first steps can be taken by individuals? How to power-up people to power-up their community? How to locally, within many countries, OccupyHealthCare? Together, let’s learn Rock-It Science.