'Human Rights Based Approach to Development - Is it Rhetorical Repackaging or a New Paradigm?'
Over the last decade, a growing number of organisations have adopted a 'human rights-based approach' to development. Yet many development practitioners and researchers remain sceptical and the concept has not influenced mainstream work on national strategies, programmes and development research. The scepticism is not due to a disagreement over the value of human rights (HR) in themselves nor even the long-standing doubts over whether economic and social rights are 'real rights', or whether acknowledging cultural rights requires one to endorse the idea of 'group rights'. The main obstacle is that many economists and social scientists working on development research and practice do not clearly see human rights as a useful concept in their toolkit for analysis and programming. They see the growing 'rights talk' as merely a rhetorical repackaging of human development. So what exactly do human rights bring to development?