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National Human Rights Action Plans: A Roadmap to Development

Chalabi, A; (2015) National Human Rights Action Plans: A Roadmap to Development. Doctoral thesis , UCL (University College London).

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Abstract

This study sought to explore ‘National Human Rights Action Plans’ (NHRAP), as a largely under-researched area, from theoretical, doctrinal and empirical perspectives. At the theoretical level, by arguing that the realisation of human rights is the means and ends of development, this study laid a conceptual foundation for NHRAPs and set the stage for drawing a link between human rights-based development and NHRAPs. At the doctrinal level, by conducting a textual analysis of all the nine core human rights conventions, general comments, reports and concluding observations, this investigation showed that each of these conventions places upon states parties an immediate obligation to adopt a NHRAP which must be geared towards realising human rights. At the empirical level, the method of investigation was based on a cross-case study design to explore general problems across existing plans and a focused-case study design to assess the effectiveness of NHRAPs in practice. The cross-case analysis of thirty nine countries’ NHRAPs identified, at least, fourteen significant problems in the ‘pre-phase’ and the four phases of planning. This cross-case analysis also explored three important root causes of the problems, including the lack of political will, lack of stakeholder awareness and the traditional concept of planning upon which NHRAPs are based. Among others, it suggests a strategic shift towards the modern concept of planning which is theory-laden, multi-level and evidence-based. For the focused-case study, Australia, which is the world-leader in the formulation of such plans, was selected. The focused-case study of three Australia’s NHRAPs which was informed by four sources of data i.e. a new online survey among experts, an in-depth interview and secondary data, both qualitative and quantitative, provided clear lessons for future practices. It likewise revealed that overall, Australia’s NHRAPs have been slightly effective in realising human rights but the effectiveness of the current plan, which is close to the modern concept of planning, compared with the first two, has improved, particularly in the areas of women’s rights and children’s rights. Together, this study showed that a NHRAP, if properly designed and implemented in line with the modern concept of planning and supported by political will can pave the way for human rights-based development. Otherwise, adopting a NHRAP, by itself, would be more like window dressing rather than an effective roadmap to development.

Type: Thesis (Doctoral)
Title: National Human Rights Action Plans: A Roadmap to Development
Language: English
UCL classification: UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH
UCL > Provost and Vice Provost Offices > UCL SLASH > Faculty of Laws
URI: http://discovery.ucl.ac.uk/id/eprint/1466162
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