Rights Based Development
Of the 1,200 million people living in poverty throughout the world, 600 million are children. To work in favour of SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT based on the observance of human rights, is the way in which this situation can change. States are responsible within their territory for ensuring human rights are respected. When States ratify international treaties on human rights, they establish a legal commitment which they are bound to honour. UNICEF helps countries to fulfill their obligations with relation to rights.
Despite the fact that over the last 20 years the world economy has expanded enormously, the gap separating rich countries from poor countries has continued to widen. Poverty affects 1,200 million persons, of whom 600 million are children. In spite of this, UNICEF firmly believes it is possible to achieve a world free of poverty, discrimination, violence and disease, if SUSTAINABLE HUMAN DEVELOPMENT is worked for.
HUMAN DEVELOPMENT requires extending the options and capacity of people to fully develop their potential. Thus, development must be SUSTAINABLE. That is to say, the satisfaction of the needs of the present generation cannot compromise the capacity of future generations to cover their own needs.
In order to reach this objective it is necessary for all human rights - economic, social, cultural, civil and political - to be observed. Rights are not something extraordinary but an everyday occurrence. All people throughout the world have rights, and the way for these to become effective is through the practice of citizenship on a daily basis.
Matters of State
States and their institutions have the obligation to protect the population by ensuring respect for and full exercise of their human rights. Human rights are the wider framework within which we find the rights of women, children and adolescents.
Rights reflect a series of human needs, whether physical, psychological, developmental, or spiritual. The satisfaction of these needs guarantees underlying conditions so that people may develop their capacities and reach well-being. Therefore, in order to fulfill their responsibilities, States must resolve requirements for food, housing, health, education, and protection … of those persons under its jurisdiction, particularly women, children and adolescents.
Considering that children constitute the source of progress, societies should be established upon the interest if the child. Children and adolescents have priority rights with relation to resources, and to invest in them is the best way to break the cycle of poverty in order to achieve human development.
A framework of rights
Over the past decades, there has been a world tendency towards committing to the observance of rights, materialized by the ratification of various international conventions on human rights. When ratifying these conventions, States admit and voluntarily assume their obligation to protect their inhabitants. Ratification signifies a legal obligation to bring the conventions into effect and respond with relation to the observance of human rights within their territory.
To achieve internal coherence in legislation, governments are compelled to harmonize national legislation with international instruments of legislation, creating adequate mechanisms for their effective practice and observance.
Amongst the various international conventions on human rights that have been ratified, we can underline the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the most complete convention on human rights, and that the greatest number of countries more rapidly ratified, as well as the Convention for the Elimination of all Forms of Discrimination against Women.
Both Conventions are complementary and they strengthen one another. Together, they form a basic reference framework guiding the work done by UNICEF throughout the world, providing a legal basis for the ethical and moral principles that have always been present in the activities of this organization.
UNICEF and all United Nations agencies have the obligation to help countries fulfilling the commitments they have accepted with relation to human rights, and provide support to governments to fulfill the rights of women, children, girls and adolescents.