How to make investment in human rights pay
Published 04/09/2019 by Lisa Naylor
The rise of the far-right political movement, the growing gap between rich and poor in both developed and developing countries, and even climate change are all negatively affecting fundamental human rights on a global scale. And erosion of these rights inevitably makes it harder for vulnerable people to gain access to justice in a disastrous combination of the reduction of funding for advice and growing economic inequality.
This month’s Alliance magazine examines what drives philanthropists and foundations to devote their resources to human rights and reveals that, at $2.8 billion per year, human rights funding amounts to 5 per cent of all giving. Charting a New Course for the Human Rights Movement explores the inherent complexity of human rights philanthropy and the pressures faced by human rights organisations across the globe to keep their cause alive.
While it’s easy to believe that human rights are more carefully nurtured in the UK, sadly, the situation here is not much better than in less developed countries. The current political turmoil fuelled by anti-immigration sentiment and a hostile tabloid press mean that many British citizens either don’t understand or feel conflicted about the issue of human rights.
But how do we approach changing the public mindset around using human rights as a fundamental tool to enable access to justice? Equally Ours recently ran a successful campaign that used fake products to engage and change people’s attitudes to make them more actively supportive of human rights. Initiatives like this along with the continued work of rights education organisations like Rightsinfo, encourages the positive engagement of the public with human rights.
These are fantastic initiatives but there is the potential to do more. The figure of 5% of global giving on human rights may seem paltry but it is considerably more than spending on climate change (2%) and peace building (well under one 1%). There is evidently investment, but with that comes a need for strategy and leadership so that we as a sector can ask for what we need to address overarching issues.