Human Rights Approach to Development

1424 Words6 Pages
The meaning of ‘development’ changes according to what society needs to achieve a better life at any one time (Crocker 1992, p. 585). Exactly how we approach development varies according to our conception of justice in light of this goal. This paper examines three approaches to development: the Rights Based approach, the Basic Needs approach and the Capability approach. Concluding: that as far as fairness goes, the Rights Based approach is the most agreeable of the three, but even so, is not without fault.

The Rights Based approach is based on the concept of Human Rights, which aim to create freedom, justice and peace in the world (United Nations 2014, ‘The Universal Declaration of Human Rights’, para. 1). This approach views development
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But does the Rights Based approach always act in accordance with the law? It seems not, for as Michael J. Smith notes Human Rights create the obligation upon states to intervene in the affairs of another state when gross human rights violations exist within that state, such as mass genocide (Smith 1999, p. 478, 498-499). In such a situation, it would matter not whether the offending State was in agreement with Human Rights philosophy and process. In which case, the Rights Based approach could be considered oppressive, if not by the philosophers then certainly by those whose status quo is being challenged, and by those who believe that military interference into another states affairs, without legal process, is inherently wrong.

Thus, if we cannot have faith in the Human Rights ideology, to the point of believing it is justified in creating a law which it can ignore when its goals are not being met elsewhere, we might want to turn instead to the Basic Needs approach. The Basic Needs approach does not rely on legal processes in the achievement of its goals which are to provide everyone with a basic level of subsistence, so that no one starves and all are capable of being productive members of society (Spalding 1990, p.91). However, this approach is also not without its faults. For when it comes to the distribution of basic goods, the individual
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