Human Rights Based Approach to Programming

United Nation’s Rights Up Front – summary document
Rights Up Front Q&A for Resident Coordinators
UNICEF Non-Paper on Protecting Human Rights in Armed Conflict

"UNICEF's revised Core Commitments for Children in Emergencies (CCCs) make a clear and specific reference to the importance of adopting a human rights-based approach to programming in humanitarian action (HRBAP). The CCCs put children and women at the centre of humanitarian action, as active participants rather than recipients of assistance and recognize the additional challenges of applying HRBAP in complex humanitarian situations. They emphasise the important role of governments as well as humanitarian agencies as duty bearers in complex emergencies, as prescribed by international humanitarian law, and outline UNICEF's commitment to reinforcing HRBAP by:

  • Addressing inequalities and disparities in analysis, programme design, implementation and monitoring, recognizing that inequalities may cause or exacerbate vulnerabilities in humanitarian crises.
  • Promoting the participation of children, adolescents, women and affected populations, including in the analysis, design and monitoring of humanitarian programmes.
  • Strengthening the capacities of state authorities and non-governmental and community organizations as an essential strategy for joint and effective humanitarian action.
  • Advocating for the rights and voices of children and women as an integral component of humanitarian action." (CCC, 2010)

During humanitarian crises children's exposure to rights violations can increase dramatically as a result of the increased instability and insecurity that ensues. This can include direct consequences of crises, such as unlawful recruitment, sexual violence, killing and maiming, as well as indirect consequences, such as the loss of basic services and the rise of poverty, malnutrition and disease. One of the most urgent tasks during crises -when often government, community and family protection mechanisms break down- is to protect children's rights. Providing humanitarian life-saving assistance in the face of human rights deprivations, without also providing protection from attack, persecution and/or other human rights violations or deprivations is not enough.