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The human-rights-based approach

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The human-rights-based approach developed by the United Nations makes respecting, protecting and safeguarding human rights the cornerstone for sustainable human development.

A human-rights-based approach (HRBA) has been developed by the United Nations as a conceptual framework that makes respecting, protecting and safeguarding human rights the cornerstone, goal and tools for enabling sustainable human development. Making use of such an approach in municipal policies is a challenge that Barcelona City Council is rising to under its “Barcelona, city of rights” programme.

The regulatory framework for human rights is clearly established here, but it will have to be respected, and the necessary public policies implemented, if these rights are to be protected and safeguarded. This means the goals behind municipal policies, plans, programmes and services will have to be in line with human-rights standards; that equality and non-discrimination will have to be the cornerstones; that the public's right to active, free and significant participation in public policies will have to be guaranteed and that a contribution will have to be made towards strengthening the public’s capacities, thereby empowering them to demand and exercise their rights.

Such an approach involves a series of indicators and methodological tools, which up to now have been applied above all in identifying and formulating projects, which authorities, especially local authorities, are starting to apply when proposing and implementing specific public policies. So, developments adapted to municipal policies and applied human-rights-based approaches will be one of the “Barcelona, city of rights” goals, a goal that will help us to implement major human rights principles and declarations in real policies.

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