Human Rights  Final
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Paper presented during my Masters studies at Alliant International University

Paper presented during my Masters studies at Alliant International University

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  • 1. “Human rights Between theory and Practice” Paper Presented By Abdelhamied El-Rafie MAIR student at : Alliant International University Mexico city Campus For the Course: Contemporary Issues in Perspective Under the Supervision of : Professor Dr. Camilo Perez BustilloAbdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 2. Introduction : My paper is titled “Human rights Between theory and Practice”My questions will be : 1. what is the Theoretical Background of Human rights? 2. What is the International organizational system for Human rights? 3. Is Human rights politicized?My Hypothesis is that “ Regardless the Human Rights theories and acts and Laws It willbe Politicized in Practice with regards to the International System and its balance ofPowers” Part I The Historical and theoretical BackgroundThe article Human rights :Chimera on sheep’s clothing? (1) Helped me a lot in this partand I have quoted several Parts from it“The Historical Origins of Human RightsHuman rights are a product of a philosophical debate that has raged for over twothousand years within the European societies and their colonial descendants. Thisargument has focused on a search for moral standards of political organization andbehaviour that is independent of the contemporary society. In other words, many peoplehave been unsatisfied with the notion that what is right or good is simply what aparticular society or ruling elite feels is right or good at any given time. This unease hasled to a quest for enduring moral imperatives that bind societies and their rulers over timeand from place to place. Fierce debates raged among political philosophers as these issuewere argued through. While a path was paved by successive thinkers that lead tocontemporary human rights, a second lane was laid down at the same time by those whoresisted this direction. The emergence of human rights from the natural rights traditiondid not come without opposition, as some argued that rights could only from the law of aparticular society and could not come from any natural or inherent source. The essence ofthis debate continues today from seeds sown by previous generations of philosophers.The earliest direct precursor to human rights might be found in the notions of `naturalright developed by classical Greek philosophers, such as Aristotle, but this concept wasmore fully developed by Thomas Aquinas in his Summa Theologica. For severalcenturies Aquinas conception held sway: there were goods or behaviours that werenaturally right (or wrong) because God ordained it so. What was naturally right could beascertained by humans by `right reason - thinking properly. Hugo Grotius furtherexpanded on this notion in De jure belli et paci, where he propounded the immutability ofwhat is naturally right and wrong”(1)Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 3. “Now the Law of Nature is so unalterable, that it cannot be changed even by Godhimself. For although the power of God is infinite, yet there are some things, to which itdoes not extend. ...Thus two and two must make four, nor is it possible otherwise; nor,again, can what is really evil not be evil.The moral authority of natural right was assured because it had divine authorship. Ineffect, God decided what limits should be placed on the human political activity. But thelong-term difficulty for this train of political thought lay precisely in its religiousfoundations.As the reformation caught on and ecclesiastical authority was shaken and challenged byrationalism, political philosophers argued for new bases of natural right. Thomas Hobbesposed the first major assault in 1651 on the divine basis of natural right by describing aState of Nature in which God did not seem to play any role. Perhaps more importantly,however, Hobbes also made a crucial leap from `natural right to `a natural right. In otherwords, there was no longer just a list of behaviour that was naturally right or wrong;Hobbes added that there could be some claim or entitlement which was derived fromnature. In Hobbes view, this natural right was one of self-preservation.Further reinforcement of natural rights came with Immanuel Kants writings later in the17th century that reacted to Hobbes work. In his view, the congregation of humans into astate-structured society resulted from a rational need for protection from each othersviolence that would be found in a state of nature. However, the fundamental requirementsof morality required that each treat another according to universal principles. Kantspolitical doctrine was derived from his moral philosophy, and as such he argued that astate had to be organized through the imposition of, and obedience to, laws that applieduniversally; nevertheless, these laws should respect the equality, freedom, and autonomyof the citizens. In this way Kant, prescribed that basic rights were necessary for civilsociety:A true system of politics cannot therefore take a single step without first paying tribute tomorality. ...The rights of man must be held sacred, however great a sacrifice the rulingpower must make.However, the divine basis of natural right was still pursued for more than a century afterHobbes published his Leviathan. John Locke wrote a strong defence of natural rights inthe late 17th century with the publication of his Two Treatises on Government, but hisarguments were filled with references to what God had ordained or given to mankind.Locke had a lasting influence on political discourse that was reflected in both theAmerican Declaration of Independence and Frances Declaration of the Rights of Manand the Citizen, passed by the Republican Assembly after the revolution in 1789. TheAbdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 4. French declaration proclaimed 17 rights as "the natural, inalienable and sacred rights ofman".The French Declaration of Rights immediately galvanized political writers in Englandand provoked two scathing attacks on its notion of natural rights. Jeremy Benthamsclause-by-clause critique of the Declaration, entitled Anarchical Fallacies, arguedvehemently that there can be no natural rights, since rights are created by the law of asociety:Right, the substantive right, is the child of law: from real laws come real rights; but fromlaws of nature, fancied and invented by poets, rhetoriticians, and dealers in moral andintellectual poisons come imaginary rights, a bastard brood of monsters, `gorgons andchimeras dire.Natural rights is simple nonsense: natural and imprescriptible rights, rhetorical nonsense,- nonsense upon stilts.Edmund Burke also wrote a stinging attack on the French Declarations assertion ofnatural rights, in which he argued that rights were those benefits won within each society.(5) The rights held by the English and French were different, since they were the product ofdifferent political struggles through history.Soon after the attacks on the French Declaration, Thomas Paine wrote a defence of theconception of natural rights and their connection to the rights of a particular society. InThe Rights of Man, published in two parts in 1791 and 1792, Paine made a distinctionbetween natural rights and civil rights, but he continued to see a necessary connection:Natural rights are those which appertain to man in right of his existence. Of this kind areall the intellectual rights, or rights of the mind, and also all those rights of acting as anindividual for his own comfort and happiness, which are not injurious to the natural rightsof others. Civil rights are those which appertain to man in right of being a member ofsociety. Every civil right has for its foundation, some natural right pre-existing in theindividual, but to the enjoyment of which his individual power is not, in all cases,sufficiently competent. Of this kind are all those which relate to security and protection.This passage reflects another, earlier inspiration for human rights from the social contractviews of writers such as Jean-Jacques Rousseau, who argued that people agree to live incommon if society protects them. Indeed, the purpose of the state is to protect those rightsthat individuals cannot defend on their own. Rousseau had set the ground for Painedecades earlier with his Social Contract, in which he not only lambasted attempts to tiereligion to the foundations of political order but disentangled the rights of a society fromnatural rights. In Rousseaus view, the rights in a civil society are hallowed: "But theAbdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 5. social order is a scared right which serves as a basis for other rights. And as it is not anatural right, it must be one founded on covenants." Rousseau then eleaborated a numberof rights of citizens and limits on the sovereigns power.The debate in the late eighteenth century has left telling traces. Controversy continues toswirl over the question whether rights are creations of particular societies or independentof them.Modern theorists have developed a notion of natural rights that does not draw its sourceor inspiration from a divine ordering. The ground work for this secular natural rightstrend was laid by Paine and even Rousseau. In its place has arisen a variety of theoriesthat are humanist and rationalist; the `natural element is determined from theprerequisites of human society which are said to be rationally ascertainable. Thus thereare constant criteria which can be identified for peaceful governance and the developmentof human society. But problems can develop for this school of thought when notions of asocial contract are said to underlie the society from which rights are deduced.Contemporary notions of human rights draw very deeply from this natural rightstradition. In a further extension of the natural rights tradition, human rights are now oftenviewed as arising essentially from the nature of humankind itself. The idea that allhumans possess human rights simply by existing and that these rights cannot be takenaway from them are direct descendants of natural rights.However, a persistent opposition to this view builds on the criticisms of Burke andBentham, and even from the contractarian views of Rousseaus image of civil society. Inthis perspective rights do not exist independently of human endeavour; they can only becreated by human action. Rights are viewed as the product a particular society and itslegal system.In this vein, Karl Marx also left a legacy of opposition to rights that hindered socialistthinkers from accommodating rights within their theories of society. Marx denouncedrights as a fabrication of bourgeois society, in which the individual was divorced from hisor her society; rights were needed in capitalist states in order to provide protection fromthe state. In the marxist view of society, an individual is essentially a product of societyand, ideally, should not be seen in an antagonistic relationship where rights are needed.However, many socialists have come to accept certain conceptions of rights in the latetwentieth century.Thus, the history of political philosophy has been one of several centuries of debate. Thechild of natural rights philosophers, human rights, has come to hold a powerful place incontemporary political consciousness. However, neither preponderant belief in, nor evena consensus of support for human rights do not answer the concerns raised by the earlierthinkers - are rights truly the product of a particular vision and laws of a society? Or, arehuman rights so inherent in humanness that their origins and foundations areincontestable?Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 6. A further difficulty, with profound implications, that human rights theories have toovercome is their emergence from these Western political traditions. Not only are they aproduct of European natural rights, but the particular rights that are viewed as `naturalhave been profoundly shaped by the liberalism that emerged in the 19th and 20thcenturies. With human rights, the rhetorical framework of the natural rights tradition hascome to serve as a vehicle for the values of Western liberalism.An easy and powerful criticism is that human rights cannot be universal. In their basicconcept they are a Western creation, based on the European tradition that individuals areseparable from their society. But one may question whether these rights can apply tocollectivist or communitarian societies that view the individual as an indivisible elementof the whole society. Westerners, and many others, have come to place a high value oneach individual human, but this is not a value judgment that is universal. There issubstantive disagreement on the extent of, or even the need for, any protection ofindividuals against their society.In addition to this problem with the concept itself, there are strong objections to themanner in which human rights have been conceptualized. Many lists of human rights readlike specifications for liberal democracy. A variety of traditional societies can be found inthe world that operate harmoniously, but are not based on equality let alone universalsuffrage.A question that will recur in later discussions is whether the `human rights advocatedtoday are really civil rights that pertain to a particular - liberal - conception of society. Toa large extent, the resolution of this issue depends upon the ultimate goal of human rights.If human rights are really surrogate liberalism, then it will be next to impossible to arguetheir inherent authority over competing political values. In order for human rights toenjoy universal legitimacy they must have a basis that survives charges of ideologicalimperialism. Human rights must have a universally acceptable basis in order for there tobe any substantial measure of compliance. (1)“The Motivation for Human RightsSome understanding about the nature of human rights can be gleaned from the variousreasons that can be advanced for holding them. A prime concern is to offer protectionfrom tyrannical and authoritarian calculations. Capricious or repressive measures of anautocratic government may be constrained with the recognition of supreme moral limitson any governments freedom of action. But even among governments that are genuinelylimited by moral considerations, there may still be a need to shield the populace fromutilitarian decision-making. The greater good of the whole society may lead to sacrificeor exploitation of minority interests. Or, the provision of important benefits within thesociety may be limited by calculations that public resources should be spent on otherenterprises.Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 7. The attraction of human rights is that they are often thought to exist beyond thedetermination of specific societies. Thus, they set a universal standard that can be used tojudge any society. Human rights provide an acceptable bench mark with whichindividuals or governments from one part of the world may criticize the norms followedby other governments or cultures. With an acceptance of human rights, Moslems, Hindus,Christians, capitalists, socialists, democracies, or tribal oligarchies may all legitimatelycensure each other. This criticism across religious, political, and economic divides gainsits legitimacy because human rights are said to enshrine universal moral standards.Without fully universal human rights, one is left simply trying to assert that ones ownway of thinking is better than somebody elses.The prime rhetorical benefit of human rights is that they are viewed as being so basic andso fundamental to human existence that they should trump any other consideration. Justas Dworkin has argued that any conception of `rights trumps other claims within asociety, human rights may be of a higher order that supersedes even other rights claimswithin a society.Other motivations for human rights may stem from a fear of the consequences of denyingtheir existence. Because of the currency given human rights in contemporary politicaldebate, there is a danger that such a denial will provide support for brutal regimes whodefend their repression on the grounds that international human rights norms are simply afanciful creation that has no universal authority. The United Nations conference onhuman rights held in Vienna in 1993 saw some of the worlds most repressivegovernments making precisely this argument, and few people would wish to providefurther justification for this position. In addition, a great deal of political advocacy relieson human rights rhetoric to provide a legitimating moral force. Without the appeal tohuman rights, democratic champions would have to argue the desirability of values suchas equality and freedom of speech across the often incomparable circumstances of theworlds societies, rather than asserting that such benefits just inherently flow from humanexistence.“ The Theoretical Foundation of Human RightsSeveral competing bases have been asserted for universal human rights. It is essential tounderstand these various foundations, since they can result in quite differentunderstandings of the specific benefits protected by human rights. As well, each approachto human rights has different strengths and vulnerabilities in facing the challenges posedby relativism and utilitarianism.Many have argued that human rights exist in order to protect the basic dignity of humanlife. Indeed, the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights embodies this goal bydeclaring that human rights flow from "the inherent dignity of the human person". Strongarguments have been made, especially by western liberals, that human rights must bedirected to protecting and promoting human dignity. As Jack Donnelly has written, "WeAbdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 8. have human rights not to the requisites for health but to those things `needed for a life ofdignity, for a life worthy of a human being, a life that cannot be enjoyed without theserights" (original emphasis). This view is perhaps the most pervasively held, especiallyamong human rights activists; the rhetoric of human-rights disputes most frequentlyinvokes this notion of striving for the dignity that makes human life worth living. Theidea of promoting human dignity has considerable appeal, since human life is given adistinctive weight over other animals in most societies precisely because we are capableof cultivating the quality of our lives.Unfortunately, the promotion of dignity may well provide an unstable foundation for theconstruction of universal moral standards. The inherent weakness of this approach lies intrying to identify the nature of this dignity. Donnelly unwittingly reveals this shortcomingin expanding upon the deliberate human action that creates human rights. "Human rightsrepresent a social choice of a particular moral vision of human potentiality, which restson a particular substantive account of the minimum requirements of a life of dignity".Dignity is a very elastic concept and the substance given to it is very much a moralchoice, and a particular conception of dignity becomes paramount. But, who makes thischoice and why should one conception prevail over other views of dignity? Even generalrejection of outlandish assertions of dignity may not indicate agreement on a coresubstance. There might be widespread derision of my assertion that I can only lead a trulydignified life if I am surrounded by 100 doting love-slaves. But a disapproval of the lackof equality in my vision of dignity does not necessarily demonstrate that equality is auniversal component of dignity. While one of the most basic liberal beliefs about humandignity is that all humans are equal, social division and hierarchy play important roles inaspects of Hindu, Confucian, Muslim, and Roman Catholic views of human life. Indeed,`dignity is often achieved in these views by striving to fulfill ones particular vocationwithin an ordered set of roles. But, if human rights are meant to be universal standards,the inherent dignity that is supposed to be protected should be a common vision. Withoutsufficient commonality, dignity cannot suffice as the ultimate goal of human rights.An alternative basis for human rights draws from the requisites for human well-being.One advocate of this approach, Allan Gewirth, would agree with Donnelly that humanrights are drawn in essence from humankinds moral nature, but Gewirth does not followDonnellys conclusion that human rights are a moral vision of human dignity. Rather,Gewirth argues that "agency or action is the common subject of all morality andpractice". (14) Human rights are not just a product of morality but protect the basicfreedom and well-being necessary for human agency. Gewirth distinguished betweenthree types of rights that address different levels of well-being. Basic rights safeguardones subsistence or basic well-being. Nonsubtractive rights maintain the capacity forfulfilling purposive agency, while additive rights provide the requisites for developingones capabilities - such as education. Gewirth differentiates between these rights becausehe accepts that humans vary tremendously in their capacity for purposive agency.Through what he calls the principle of proportionality, humans are entitled to those rightsthat are proportionate to their capacity for agency. Thus, individuals who are comatoseAbdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 9. only have basic rights to subsistence, since they are incapable of any purposive action. “(1) Part II The International System’s Understanding of the Issue of Human RightsLet me quote some articles from the Resolution of the GA to Establish the Human RightsCouncil “Reaffirming the purposes and principles contained in the Charter of the UnitedNations, including developing friendly relations among nations based on respect forthe principle of equal rights and self-determination of peoples, and achievinginternational cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social,cultural or humanitarian character and in promoting and encouraging respect forhuman rights and fundamental freedoms for all,Reaffirming also the Universal Declaration of Human Rights1 and the ViennaDeclaration and Programme of Action,2 and recalling the International Covenant onCivil and Political Rights,3 the International Covenant on Economic, Social andCultural Rights3 and other human rights instruments,Reaffirming further that all human rights are universal, indivisible,interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and that all human rights mustbe treated in a fair and equal manner, on the same footing and with the sameemphasis,Reaffirming that, while the significance of national and regional particularitiesand various historical, cultural and religious backgrounds must be borne in mind, allStates, regardless of their political, economic and cultural systems, have the duty topromote and protect all human rights and fundamental freedoms,Emphasizing the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter,to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of anykind as to race, colour, sex, language or religion, political or other opinion, nationalor social origin, property, birth or other status,Acknowledging that peace and security, development and human rights are thepillars of the United Nations system and the foundations for collective security andwell-being, and recognizing that development, peace and security and human rightsare interlinked and mutually reinforcing, non-selectivity in the consideration of humanrights issues, and the elimination ofdouble standards and politicization,Recognizing further that the promotion and protection of human rights shouldbe based on the principles of cooperation and genuine dialogue and aimed atstrengthening the capacity of Member States to comply with their human rightsobligations for the benefit of all human beings,Acknowledging that non-governmental organizations play an important role atthe national, regional and international levels, in the promotion and protection ofhuman rights,Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 10. Reaffirming the commitment to strengthen the United Nations human rightsmachinery, with the aim of ensuring effective enjoyment by all of all human rights,civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right todevelopment, and to that end, the resolve to create a Human Rights Council,1. Decides to establish the Human Rights Council, based in Geneva, inreplacement of the Commission on Human Rights, as a subsidiary organ of theGeneral Assembly; the Assembly shall review the status of the Council within fiveyears;2. Decides that the Council shall be responsible for promoting universalrespect for the protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms for all,without distinction of any kind and in a fair and equal manner;3. Decides also that the Council should address situations of violations ofhuman rights, including gross and systematic violations, and makerecommendations thereon. It should also promote the effective coordination and themainstreaming of human rights within the United Nations system;4. Decides further that the work of the Council shall be guided by theprinciples of universality, impartiality, objectivity and non-selectivity, constructiveinternational dialogue and cooperation, with a view to enhancing the promotion andprotection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights,including the right to development;5. Decides that the Council shall, inter alia:(a) Promote human rights education and learning as well as advisoryservices, technical assistance and capacity-building, to be provided in consultationwith and with the consent of Member States concerned;(b) Serve as a forum for dialogue on thematic issues on all human rights;(c) Make recommendations to the General Assembly for the furtherdevelopment of international law in the field of human rights;(d) Promote the full implementation of human rights obligations undertakenby States and follow-up to the goals and commitments related to the promotion andprotection of human rights emanating from United Nations conferences andsummits;(e) Undertake a universal periodic review, based on objective and reliableinformation, of the fulfilment by each State of its human rights obligations andcommitments in a manner which ensures universality of coverage and equaltreatment with respect to all States; the review shall be a cooperative mechanism,based on an interactive dialogue, with the full involvement of the country concernedand with consideration given to its capacity-building needs; such a mechanism shallcomplement and not duplicate the work of treaty bodies; the Council shall developthe modalities and necessary time allocation for the universal periodic reviewmechanism within one year after the holding of its first session;(f) Contribute, through dialogue and cooperation, towards the prevention ofhuman rights violations and respond promptly to human rights emergencies;(g) Assume the role and responsibilities of the Commission on HumanRights relating to the work of the Office of the United Nations High Commissionerfor Human Rights, as decided by the General Assembly in its resolution 48/141 of20 December 1993;Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 11. (h) Work in close cooperation in the field of human rights withGovernments, regional organizations, national human rights institutions and civilsociety;(i) Make recommendations with regard to the promotion and protection ofhuman rights;(j) Submit an annual report to the General Assembly;6. Decides also that the Council shall assume, review and, where necessary,improve and rationalize all mandates, mechanisms, functions and responsibilities ofthe Commission on Human Rights in order to maintain a system of specialprocedures, expert advice and a complaint procedure; the Council shall completethis review within one year after the holding of its first session;7. Decides further that the Council shall consist of forty-seven MemberStates, which shall be elected directly and individually by secret ballot by themajority of the members of the General Assembly; the membership shall be basedon equitable geographical distribution, and seats shall be distributed as followsamong regional groups: Group of African States, thirteen; Group of Asian States,thirteen; Group of Eastern European States, six; Group of Latin American andCaribbean States, eight; and Group of Western European and other States, seven; themembers of the Council shall serve for a period of three years and shall not beeligible for immediate re-election after two consecutive terms;8. Decides that the membership in the Council shall be open to all StatesMembers of the United Nations; when electing members of the Council, MemberStates shall take into account the contribution of candidates to the promotion andprotection of human rights and their voluntary pledges and commitments madethereto; the General Assembly, by a two-thirds majority of the members present andvoting, may suspend the rights of membership in the Council of a member of theCouncil that commits gross and systematic violations of human rights;”(2)Now let me quote from the United Nations Fund for Population The Human Rights basedApproach”The Human Rights-Based ApproachThe Cairo Consensus forged at the 1994 International Conference on Population andDevelopment (ICPD) is underpinned by human rights principles. The ICPD and ICPD +5placed population, reproductive health and gender equality in a human rights-basedframework linked to human development and sustained economic growth. UNFPA iscommitted to integrating human rights standards and principles into its work at thecountry level.The UN Secretary-General’s Programme for Reform (1997), and its second phase, AnAgenda for Further Change (2001), called upon UN Agencies to make human rights across-cutting priority for the UN system. In 2003, a group of UN agencies, includingUNFPA, committed to integrating human rights into their national developmentAbdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 12. cooperation programmes by adopting the Common Understanding on a rights-basedapproach.Before 1997, most UN development agencies pursued a ‘basic needs’ approach: Theyidentified basic requirements of beneficiaries and either supported initiatives to improveservice delivery or advocated for their fulfilment.UNFPA and its UN partners now work to fulfil the rights of people, rather than the needsof beneficiaries. There is a critical distinction: A need not fulfilled leads todissatisfaction. In contrast, a right that is not respected leads to a violation, and its redressor reparation can be legally and legitimately claimed. A human rights-based approach toprogramming differs from the basic needs approach in that it recognizes the existence ofrights. It also reinforces capacities of duty bearers (usually governments) to respect,protect and guarantee these rights.In a rights-based approach, every human being is recognized both as a person and as aright-holder. A rights-based approach strives to secure the freedom, well-being anddignity of all people everywhere, within the framework of essential standards andprinciples, duties and obligations. The rights-based approach supports mechanisms toensure that entitlements are attained and safeguarded.Governments have three levels of obligation: to respect, protect and fulfil every right. • To respect a right means refraining from interfering with the enjoyment of the right. • To protect the right means enacting laws that create mechanisms to prevent violation of the right by state authorities or by non-state actors. This protection is to be granted equally to all.Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 13. • To fulfil the right means to take active steps to put in place institutions and procedures, including the allocation of resources to enable people to enjoy the right. A rights-based approach develops the capacity of duty-bearers to meet their obligations and encourages rights holders to claim their rights.Rights are indivisible, interdependent and interrelated. The human rights-based approachfocuses on those who are most vulnerable, excluded or discriminated against. UNFPA iscommitted to work for the poorest women, men and youth, particularly in the fields ofsustainable development and population, reproductive health and rights and HIVprevention, in times of peace or in times of conflict, as well as in response to naturaldisasters. This often requires an analysis of gender and social exclusion to ensure thatprogrammes reach the most marginalized and vulnerable segments of the population.The human rights-based approach constitutes a framework of action as well as amethodological tool to fulfil UNFPA’s mandate in the context of reforms in a changingworld. This approach is also expected to achieve results: sustained progress towardsrespect of human rights, development, peace, security, eradication of poverty, andachievement of the Millennium Development Goals.Three strategies are key to applying human rights standards to reproductive health • Creating an enabling policy environment that promotes reproductive health and rights, including building capacity to strengthen health systems, partnering with civil society and community-based organizations, and monitoring budgetary appropriations to ensure that reproductive health care is covered. • Widening access to comprehensive reproductive health services, with an emphasis on disadvantaged groups. • Building awareness of the reproductive rights of women, men and adolescents so that they can claim their rights to reproductive health. • Encouraging, involving and building the capacity of individuals and communities to participate in the design, implementation, monitoring and evaluation of reproductive health programmes and services that affect their lives.In the area of population and development, applying human rights standards includes: • Improving utilization of age- and sex-disaggregated data so that governments, UN agencies, and NGOs can target interventions in favour of the most disadvantaged people. • Integrating population and development linkages into national, subnational and sectoral policies, plans and strategies, especially to ensure that the rights of poor, disadvantaged or otherwise marginalized groups are protected.Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 14. • Ensuring that development and poverty reduction policies, plans and strategies address critical emerging issues such as migration, urbanization, ageing and HIV and AIDS.Applying human rights standards to the issues of gender equality and women’sempowerment requires fostering an environment that promotes and enforces genderequality in laws, practices, policies and value systems.A number of UN mechanisms help UNFPA advance its mandate within the human rightsframework. For instance, recommendations of treaty bodies – such as the Committee onthe Elimination of Discrimination against Women, the Committee on Economic, Socialand Cultural Rights and the Special Rapporteurs and the Working groups of theCommission on Human Rights are invaluable tools in this regard.”(3)Now let me Quote from The same website the UNFPA approach in putting rights intopractice“Putting Rights into PracticeIncorporating the human rights-based approach into programming requires a shift fromthinking in terms of satisfying needs to designing interventions based on fulfilling rights.The human rights-based approach to programming addresses development complexitiesand humanitarian assistance holistically. It takes into consideration the connectionsbetween individuals and the systems of power or influence and endeavors to createdynamics of accountability.This is a two-way street: individuals and communities need to be fully informed abouttheir rights and to participate in decisions that affect them. Governments and other dutybearers often need assistance to develop the capacity, the resources and the political willto fulfil their commitments to human rights.A Human Rights Framework Calls for Interventions and Strategies to: • Promote justice for women on the basis of equality between women and men (equity) • Enable women and men to claim their rights (empowerment) • Ensure that women and men are involved in the design and implementation of development initiatives (participation)Make services accountable to the women and men who use them (accountability)Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 15. UNFPA works from both directions. It advocates with policymakers and leaders insupport of human rights standards affirmed in national laws and internationalinstruments, and helps them to assume their duties of protecting these rights. Itencourages particular attention to the rights of the most vulnerable women, men andyouth.UNFPA also fulfils its mission by empowering vulnerable individuals and communitiesthrough various strategies, including sensitization and awareness campaigns, training andlife-skills projects. Stronger Voices is an example of a programme that works from bothdirections simultaneously: It helps communities mobilize to demand high-qualityreproductive health services, and it also helps providers better understand how they canfully address the needs and rights of their clients.A wide range of actors and legal mechanisms form an interconnected network of supportfor protecting human rights. This network includes public institutions, the private sector,the media, multilateral and bilateral organizations, NGOs, communities, associations,leaders and political parties. Civil society, international organizations and community andreligious leaders as well as the media play a critical role in educating individuals andcommunities about the rights they are entitled to and helping them to exercise them.Actors for Change: National Human Rights InstitutionsNational human rights institutions – including human rights commissions, ombudsmanoffices, and specialized institutions that protect the rights of a particular vulnerable group– are increasingly active in a wide range of human rights causes, and UNFPA has beeninstrumental in supporting them.Progress has been quite significant in this area in the Latin America and the Caribbeanregion. UNFPA co-sponsored, with the Office of the High Commissioner for HumanRights and the Inter-American Institute for Human Rights, a Seminar on the Promotionand Protection of Reproductive Rights through the work of National Human RightsInstitutions for Latin America, the Caribbean and Canada (Costa Rica, 2002).A workshop with similar objectives was also held with Ombudsman Offices of theCaribbean (Jamaica 2003). The resolution that emerged from this meeting calls forstrengthening their monitoring capabilities. As a result, reproductive health and rights arenow being integrated within country level action plans and in monitoring and follow up.The human rights-based approach is concerned not just with outcomes but also with theprocess by which outcomes are achieved. It requires that all stakeholders be included. Itrecognizes that people are actors in their own development, rather than passive recipientsof commodities and services. Informing, educating and empowering stakeholders is key.Participation is central, as both a means and an end, not only to ensure ownership, butalso to guarantee continuity.Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 16. Part III Human Rights in PracticeConclusions:The theory of Human rights plus the International Declarations and Decisions taken bycountries and organizations about these rights are Perfectly well phrased if we add to thelegal framework the Inspections done by International NGOs concerned by Human rightsis another sector of monitoring the practice of these rights .If we add to this TheInternational framework presented in HRC and ICJ we would have Aperfect World forpracticing Human Rights .But If we look at reality we will find lots of Human Rights violations all over the Worldand it may get the attention of International Public Opinion But the real actors are Statesand certain states if I want to be more accurate The HR weapon is used against certainstates who are against the wills of the super power and against its agenda Iam not here todefend violations because violations in Gaza or In Sudan are the Same in the occupiedterritories and are the same in the US itself so why the sanctions are put on some regimeswhile other violations are neglected ?Therefore I disagree with what Sen calls for less involvement of the role of States inHuman rights because they are the real actors who have the abilities and capabilities toput these rights in Practice .This has a direct relation with my Hypothesis because I think that these rights are deeplypoliticized because the practice has a direct relation with International Relations andagendas of these relations and since we are living in a unipolar system so the relationbetween these rights as politics not as rights or law therefore these rights has a direct fastdynamics with that System. Even beyond if that System as analysts predict transfers intoa multipolar system then the practice and inspection of those rights will be related to thePoles of that System . ‫ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ‬ ‫ـــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــــ‬Abdelhamied El-Rafie
  • 17. ‫ــــــــــــــــــــــــــ‬Resources: 1. Human rights :Chimera on sheep’s clothing?, ©Andrew Heard, 1997 http://www.sfu.ca/~aheard/intro.html 2. http://www2.ohchr.org/english/bodies/hrcouncil/docs/A.RES.60.251_En.pdf 3. http://www.unfpa.org/rights/approaches.htm 4. http://www.unfpa.org/rights/practice.htmReadings: 1. http://www.cambridge.org/catalogue/catalogue.asp?isbn=9780521865173 2. http://www.undp.org/legalempowerment/?gclid=CJ--- pOTh58CFQS7sgodnAkFJw 3. http://www.unfpa.org/about/index.htm 4. http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Pages/WelcomePage.aspxAbdelhamied El-Rafie