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CBM takes part in major forum on human rights

28-05-2014
A man and a woman are sitting with a child on the front step of a house, the woman is preparing a meal. Two other people can be seen in the background.
© Robin Wyatt 2013: see www.robinwyatt.org
The 2014-2020 programme outlined by the European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights will help ensure the rights of persons with disabilities are integrated into development practices worldwide,

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights Forum 2014 presented its programme for 2014-2020 as the framework for human rights defenders to achieve development goals. Through values like universality and participation, civil society should establish a dialogue with Member States based on the implementation of international treaties on human rights. CBM’s commitment focuses on ensuring that persons with disabilities are included in development processes as a requirement for creating an inclusive society.

The EIDHR Forum 2014 consolidates human rights for development

The European Instrument for Democracy and Human Rights (EIDHR) Forum 2014 took place on 12-14 May, with the aim to promote an exchange between organisations from all over the world working in the field of human rights and EU institutions. This forum, organised by the European Commission (EC), allowed the establishment of new mechanisms based on a human rights approach.

Raising human rights as a development tool

During three days, around 400 NGO’s met with the purpose of establishing the EIDHR as the basis for future change. The event focused on Human Rights Defenders (HRD) and their relation with governments. In this regard, participants agreed on the need to ground all development processes on international treaties such as the UN Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities (UN CRPD). CBM, as partner of the European NGO confederation for relief and development (CONCORD), actively participated in this meeting during the session "Moving towards a Rights Based Approach to Development".

The exchange of insights and experiences in the field of human rights was the most critical aspect of this forum. From Latin America to the Far East, there is a concern about the obstacles to the implementation of human rights treaties. However, the influence of media and social networks has been emphasised as the fastest and most effective way to remove these obstacles, as they can help to better link people and organisations cross-borders.

New approach from lessons learnt

The forum represents an opportunity to introduce the EIDHR for 2014-2020, which is based on a Human Rights-Based Approach (HRBA) as a guiding methodology to reach new objectives. The EIDHR concerns all sectors of development cooperation, and due to the HRBA, it allows the direct participation and a dialogue between the Member States and NGO’s.

The reason for this is that the HRBA is based on five pillars:  rights, participation, non-discrimination, accountability and transparency. By introducing these five pillars into the EIDHR, the EIDHR has become a valuable instrument for raising awareness of persons with disabilities in the development process. Through the introduction of non-discrimination for instance, it has become indispensable for the disability field to be included in the human rights agenda, guaranteeing that the motto Leave No One Behind can be accomplished. 

It should be noted that the EIDHR focuses its action towards final beneficiaries. To ensure that the actions will have tangible improvements, the EIDHR for 2014-2020 will be revised in a joint collaboration between the European Commission and civil society.

The methodology of the Human Rights-Based Approach allows and necessitates the advocacy of civil society to introduce a change in development organisations, building a new dialogue where disadvantaged sectors of society should be mainstreamed. For CBM, the purpose is to obtain economic and social progress. This can only be achieved if persons with disabilities are included in all areas of life.

One way to achieve different goals

The forum has been based on two main principles: the universality of human rights for all of society and participation to insure sustainable development. Through the application of these principles, the EC wants to offer a comprehensive mechanism to get a more holistic approach. Empowering people to participate, advocating and promoting capacity building to ensure this participation are the pillars of the EIDHR. It is essential to find the language of the people in order to guarantee access of the final end-users of the development process. This is ultimately the objective of the EIDHR 2014 – 2020 programme.

Participation of persons with disabilities in the development process will be one of the main principles of CBM in its advocacy work. Disability affects all spheres of society, and its relationship with poverty entails that including disability is a prerequisite for achieving universal social justice. CBM has been working, and will continue to work in close collaboration with its partners, on the basis of human rights principles, and we will promote the active role of persons with disabilities as well as their participation in future processes. The new EIDHR 2014 – 2020 framework therefore constitutes an excellent opportunity to make progress in that direction.


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