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Draft NZAID human rights policy framework

New Zealand Official Development Assistance

Draft NZAID human rights policy framework

Human Rights and Development

The central focus of the NZAID programme is poverty elimination through sustainable and equitable development2. Poverty and inequality are not just development issues. New Zealand together with other members of the international community is obliged under international law to address these as human rights issues.

Integrating human rights and development requires bringing together the norms, standards and principles of international human rights with the plans, policies and processes of development. These norms and standards include:

the International Bill of Rights comprising the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Covenant on Civil and Political Rights other treaties, including the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (CERD); the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW); the Convention on the Righ ts of the Child (CROC) and the Convention Against Torture (CAT).

The right to 'participate in, contribute to and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development' was proclaimed in the Declaration on the Right to Development at the United Nations General Assembly in 1986. It was reaffirmed as a universal human right at the World Conference on Human Rights in Vienna in 1993. The inextricable links between human rights and development were reaffirmed by Heads of State and Government at the Unit ed Nations Millennium Summit in 2000. World leaders committed themselves to 'making the right to development a reality for everyone and to freeing the entire human race from want.'

Human rights principles include those of universality and indivisibility, equality and equity, accountability, empowerment, inclusion, non-discrimination and participation. These operate within an international framework which is firmly grounded in agreed obligations, international law and consensus between states.

Achieving international consensus and applying agreed principles and standards is a complex process involving interaction with customary law and perspectives, and involvement of a wide range of stakeholders including civi l society and indigenous groups. Recognition of this complexity is a critical element in integrating the policies and practice of human rights and development in New Zealand's Pacific neighbourhood.

Core Operating Principles

Each partner of NZAID is responsible for supporting and enhancing the rights of its citizens. In developing its aid policies and programmes in support of this work, NZAID recognises that:

Human rights are universal, indivisible and inalienable and apply to all people; Human rights and equitable and sustainable human development are interdependent and mutually reinforcing. Development is essential to realising human rights, and human rights are essential for human development; and Human rights are at the core of all development policy and practice and will be reflected throughout the development programming cycle - from initial appraisal to evaluation and impact assessment.

NZAID will require that all staff working in and for NZODA will have an understanding and awareness of human rights appropriate for their work.


Mainstreaming human rights into the NZAID programme will take place in three main areas:

Policy Programmes (practice) Organisational culture and processes


A commitment to the protection and promotion of human rights will be clearly stated in all NZAID policy frameworks, beginning with the over-arching Policy Framework. This commitment will reflect the principles outlined ab ove.

Effectively linking human rights and development policies is an important element in achieving policy coherence between development and wider foreign policy objectives. NZAID will maintain close and regular communication with the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade (especially the Human Rights Division) and other New Zealand Government departments and agencies.


NZAID will operationalise the above policy commitments by:

Mainstreaming human rights into all programmes

For bilateral and regional programmes, NZAID will establish appropriate linkages between the realisation of human rights and the development objectives, priorities and plans in all Country and Regional Strategies. Discuss ion of the links between human rights obligations and development priorities will be a regular feature of NZAID's relationships with partner governments.

For multilateral and regional agencies, NZAID will take into account the ways in which the agency concerned integrates human rights and development when assessing agencies for new or ongoing funding. NZAID will work close ly with other governments and stakeholders to ensure that human rights and development are fully integrated into the policies and programmes of international organisations to which New Zealand belongs.

Special NZAID programmes (eg, the Good Governance Programme and VASS) will formally integrate human rights principles and obligations into criteria and assessment processes.

Supporting activities with human rights as a specific focus

Depending on the particular needs and priorities of partner countries and funding available, NZAID will support activities with a specific human rights focus. Examples may include support for:

national Human Rights institutions partner government initiatives to address obligations under Human Rights instruments to which they are a party; and community-level human rights education in an international development context through Non-Governmental Organisations (NGOs)

In addition, NZAID will support multilateral activities specifically focussed on human rights - for example the Office for the UN Commissioner for Human Rights and regional human rights training workshops in the Pacific.

Mainstreaming human rights into the Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and methodologies

The mainstreaming of human rights into NZAID's Monitoring and Evaluation Framework and methodologies requires:

the development of clear and robust performance indicators which reflect the human rights dimension of a given programme or project; and measures to ensure the appropriate disaggregation of data - in areas such sex, geographic origin, religion, physical location, age and ethnicity.

Methodologies will need to adequately capture peoples own perceptions of their rights and developmental context and pay attention to the respective roles of 'claim-holders' (ie, citizens with rights under international la w) and 'duty bearers' (those institutions and organisations responsible for ensuring that human rights obligations are met).

Organisational culture and processes

The mainstreaming of human rights into New Zealand's development efforts will be reflected in the culture and practice of NZAID. NZAID will:

establish a requirement in the recruitment of staff and consultants for an awareness of relevant human rights principles and obligations; ensure a focus within staff development and professional training programmes on human rights and their relationship with development; be committed to meeting its own human rights obligations through EEO and other staffing policies and arrangements; develop close and open working relations with MFAT (especially the Human Rights Division) and other New Zealand Government ministries and departments dealing with human rights matters


1 definitions: NZAID, the New Zealand Agency for International Development, is the agency which carries out the Government's aid strategy; the NZAID programme is the development cooperation programme delivered by the agency 2 This Framework forms a part of and is to be read in conjunction with the NZAID Policy Framework.


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