"The rights-based approach to development describes situations not simply in terms of human needs, or of developmental requirements, but in terms of society's obligation to respond to the inalienable rights of individuals. It empowers people to demand justice as a right, not as charity, and gives communities a moral basis from which to claim international assistance where needed." - Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations (Annual Report on the Work of the Organization 1998)
For most actors in the field of social and economic development, the use of human rights instruments in policy and programme formulation, implementation and monitoring is relatively novel terrain.
Within such a framework, the conditions needed to achieve a decent standard of living are to be treated as basic human rights, rather than the uncertain results of charitable actions or policies aimed exclusively at economic efficiency. In this regard, Mr. Baudot argued that the efficiency criteria of economic policies should aim to foster social cohesion and well-being, instead of considering the social consequences of these policies as side effects that can be remedied separately. Human rights instruments, he said, offer a bridge between ethical standards and the legal obligations of states and other organs of society.
In this volume (see attachment below) Alston and Robinson facilitate a dialogue between development and human rights practitioners.