India. Photo by Joly Marc, TDH CH-Geneva

Poverty is about Human Rights violations, in particular economic, social and cultural rights; this has been a growing thinking in Terre des Hommes over the last decades. Approaching development from a human rights perspective means agreeing that human rights constitute both a goal in itself, and a tool to combat poverty, exclusion, and marginalization. This also means anchoring field projects, campaigns and awareness work with the goal to advance, promote and implement human rights, with a clear reference to the International Human Rights Law and Conventions. Combating poverty from a human rights perspective enables work to be carried out in full coherence with the rights of the child in development projects. In this perspective, Terre des Hommes designs its projects and campaigns in the framework of a Human Rights Based Approach to Development (HRBA): this is a way of making development as well as an objective in itself. Applying HRBA means applying some principles to what we do: using Human Rights Conventions as clear reference of for the objectives of projects, focusing on the most vulnerable persons, ensuring non-discrimination, participation, empowerment of rights-holders and accountability of duty-bearers.


The rights-based approach to development describes situations not simply in terms of human needs, or of developmental requirements, but in terms of society’s obligation to respond to the inalienable rights of individuals

Kofi Annan, Secretary-General of the United Nations, 1998.
Annual Report on the Work of the Organization 1998

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Terre des Hommes is at the forefront in promoting HRBA within CONCORD, the European NGO Confederation for Development and Relief.

“€Making Development for All Real: Sharing Rights-Based Analysis and Practice“. This was the title of a CONCORD seminar organized in 2004 at the initiative of Terre des Hommes. Our aim was to kick-off discussion among CONCORD members on Human Rights Based Approach to Development. We furthered this agenda among CONCORD in 2008 with the publication of an analysis of the EU development policy from a HRBA perspective, together with Amnesty International, Action Aid International and the International Human Rights Network.

Ten years later, HRBA constitutes a key objective of CONCORD’€s strategy and vision for development. CONCORD Members have approved an internal reference policy framework on HRBA at its General Assembly 2012. As another example, CONCORD’s position for the post-MDG Development Agenda asks for a clear Human Rights Based Approach Development framework. That would not have been the case ten years ago.

Since 2004, Terre des Hommes has been a leading organization and coordinator of the CONCORD’s working group on HRBA.

To know more about Development from a Human Rights perspective and Terre des Hommes work on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights go to

2003-2013 : CONCORD 10th Anniversary : Towards Human Rights Based Approaches to Development, A CONCORD story.

Here, you can read the Human Rights-based Approaches and EUropean Union Developement Aid policies