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José Manuel Fresno panelist at the UN Human Rights Council 28th session discussion on technical cooperation in the promotion and protection of human rights

25/03/2015

The 28th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council is taking place in Geneva from 2 to 27 March 2015. During this session, José Manuel Fresno was invited by H.E. Mr. Joachim Ruecker, President of the Human Rights Council, to present as a panelist at the thematic discussion entitled “Technical cooperation to support inclusive and participatory development and poverty eradication at the national level” (organised by the UN OHCHR).

This discussion, on the morning of 25 March 2015, aimed to exchange views on how state obligations under international human right law can be taken into account in devising national development policies and strategies for poverty reduction. Chaired by the President of the Human Rights Council and moderated by H.E. Mr. Thani Thongphakdi, Ambassador and Permanent UN Representative of Thailand, this discussion reflected on:

  • best practices in the implementation of national development policies and poverty reduction strategies;
  • the identification of gaps in development policy frameworks;
  • as well as examinations of the role of international cooperation in the promotion of participatory development and poverty eradication.

José Manuel Fresno shared his observations on the progress and setbacks of rights-based approaches in Europe over the last decades and stressed the key point that capacity building of people who experience rights violations, especially people facing poverty and social exclusion and those more at risk of been discriminated, is key to improving participatory development. In his presentation, he reflected on the following points:

  • advancements at the European level in introducing a functioning rights-based approach
  • the crucial importance of participation of people experiencing poverty and social exclusion as a means of reversing the current negative trend towards economic policies overwhelming social rights and eradicating poverty in a sustainable way;
  • Participation calls for a need to ensure people aware of their rights, building capacity to claim their rights and ultimately providing mechanisms to guarantee rights protection;
  • key to enhancing technical assistance by OHCHR to support participatory development, is fostering mutual help and the key role of civil society organisations and national human rights institutions in promoting participatory development and poverty eradication through international cooperation.

Emphasis was put on the obligation of public institutions, as duty bearers, to protect people and support them in acceding to their rights – not just with adequate legislation but by

  • placing the rights in the centre of the agenda;
  • strengthening the role of the human rights institutions;
  • fostering cooperation with civil society organizations in their task of contributing to capacity building of people experiencing poverty, influencing effective policies regarding access to and enjoyment of the services and increasing societal awareness of the need for policies that are fully inspired by the human rights.