Human rights

Human rights and governance provisions in OECD country trade agreements with developing countries

Trade agreements increasingly feature governance and human rights provisions. Countries taking the lead in this are the United States and Canada (the EU was not covered in this review). However, they tend to be selective in their provisions, focusing in particular on labour rights, transparency and anti-corruption, as well as public participation and intellectual property ...» more

Role of business in tackling modern slavery in supply chains

Key findings: Not much research has been done on business supply chain management and modern slavery: The available literature is extremely limited. Pressures on companies to tackle modern slavery in supply chains are increasing: These include growing consumer concerns about the issue, fears of reputational damage, the potential for companies to charge more for ‘slave ...» more

Modern slavery in the DRC

‘Modern slavery’ encompasses a variety of situations in which one person is forcibly controlled by one or more others for the purpose of exploitation (Cockayne, 2015). ‘Forced or compulsory labour’ is defined by the ILO Forced Labour Convention as ‘all work or service which is exacted from any person under the menace of any penalty and for which the said person has not ...» more

Safety, security and justice

The newly modernised Correctional Services of Solomon Islands

Safety, security and justice are priorities for poor people and are associated with development outcomes. What do we know about what has – or hasn't – worked in safety, security and justice programming, and where? This updated Topic Guide for policymakers and practitioners synthesises the evidence, challenges and approaches that emerge from the literature. ...» more

More than just talk? A literature review on promoting human rights through political dialogue

Hugo Stokke

To what extent does political human rights dialogue contribute to better human rights performance generally? This paper reviews literature on human rights promotion through political dialogue. It focuses on bilateral relations that form part of Norway's country-level dialogue. It finds there is not much evidence that dialogues are effective. The paper describes current dialogue ...» more

Human rights

Human rights emerged as a new field in international development in the 1990s. By 1997, the UN Secretary-General had called on all UN development agencies to mainstream human rights (1997), while development donors and NGOs increasingly committed themselves to a human rights approach. Diverse factors explain this seeming breakthrough of human rights. First, a growing…» more

Social development and human development

This Topic Guide aims to answer the question ‘What is the interaction between social development issues and human development outcomes?’ An individual’s right to lead a long and healthy life, to be educated and to enjoy a decent standard of living cannot be realised without addressing social development issues. This is because these issues determine individuals’ access to ...» more

Human rights

This topic guide provides an introduction to the interactions and links between human rights and international development. Human rights are increasingly visible in international development language, policies and programmes. Human rights, and the principles they are based on, are argued to improve the effectiveness of development programmes. But beyond that, a human rights ...» more

Rights and social action for risk management: Reflections on local, national and international roles and responses

Maximillian Ashwill, Andrew Norton

This report explores the links between risk management, rights and collective action through a set of case studies. Risk is defined here as the possibility of loss. Case studies involving elements of social mobilisation across Ecuador; Bangladesh; Brazil; South Africa and Zimbabwe demonstrate ways in which the language and practice of human rights can support better conditions ...» more

Gender in development

Gender inequality matters to development for two reasons. First, it is a justice problem. Ideologies of women’s inferiority are used to justify serious human rights abuses including female infanticide, child marriage, female genital mutilation, sexual violence, and deprivation of equal access to health care, education, property, employment and pay. Second, gender inequality is developmentally inefficient….» more

Women, gender and the evolving tactics of Boko Haram

Jacob Zenn, Elizabeth Pearson

This article addresses an aspect of Boko Haram’s activities: gender-based violence (GBV) and its targeting of women. It argues that 2013 marked a significant evolution in Boko Haram’s tactics, with a series of kidnappings, in which one of the main features was the instrumental use of women. This was in response to corresponding tactics by the Nigerian security ...» more

The economic, social and cultural rights of migrants in an irregular situation


This publication aims to fill a significant knowledge gap on the human rights of irregular migrants. While acknowledging the range of human rights concerns related to irregular migrants, it specifically sets out the legal and policy frameworks in relation to the economic, social and cultural rights of irregular migrants, highlighting the guidance provided by international human ...» more

Securing Women’s Land and Property Rights: A Critical Step to Address HIV, Violence and Food Security

Open Society Foundations

This briefing paper examines the importance of women’s land and property rights in the contexts of HIV and AIDS, violence against women and food security. Land and property rights increase women’s autonomy—decreasing their dependence on men and entrapment in abusive relationships, enabling greater control over sexual relations and improving their ability to produce food for ...» more

Authoritarianism, democracy and development

Tim Kelsall

This paper reviews the evidence on authoritarianism and development from the perspective of a policy-maker providing advice to an ostensibly developmental authoritarian regime. It finds that the cross-national statistical evidence on regime type and development is inconclusive, and argues that varying experiences of development under authoritarianism are better-captured by ...» more

The interplay between war and human rights

Chandra Lekha Sriram; Olga Martin-Ortega; and Johanna Herman

Developing useful policy responses to conflict and human rights requires an understanding of conflict dynamics and conflict resolution as well as international human rights and humanitarian law. This chapter introduces key issues and concepts in the complex relationship between war and human rights, and highlights the varying ways that  human rights violations and conflict they ...» more

Our right to safety: women human rights defenders’ holistic approach to protection

Inmaculada Barcia

Women Human Right Defenders (WHRDs) are often targeted for their gender and the nature of their job, that is, defending women's human rights. This publication analyses the various protection mechanisms that have been developed, both nationally and internationally, for WHRDs at risk. It also analyses the sexual threat and abuse faced by WHRDs in the course of their work, in ...» more

Freedom in the World 2014

Freedom House

For the eighth consecutive year, Freedom in the World showed an overall erosion in global freedom, with 54 countries registering declines and 40 earning gains in the report’s scoring system. The events of 2013 were shaped in part by authoritarian powers’ active resistance to democratic change and a crisis of confidence among leading democracies, particularly the United ...» more

Lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and intersex rights in national human rights institutions

NHRIs almost unanimously take a universal human rights stance which is validated and backed up by the UN. This institutional support allows NHRIs to criticise governments for failing to support certain human rights. NHRIs often emphasise that LGBTI rights are contained within existing UN rights principles, particularly the rights to privacy, health, life, freedom from ...» more

Evidence of impact of emergency cash transfers on gender and protection

Key messages: The major trends and gaps in the evidence in this report are: On the whole, ‘gender’ is used to refer to women. More recent papers include more analysis of how CTs impact men, especially on if they find it disempowering for women to be favoured as beneficiaries. Gender analysis is not deeply ingrained into emergency CT programme evaluation. Many papers include a ...» more