Commitment 1.1:
We respect and protect human rights, acknowledging power and resource inequities, systemic barriers and racism.

Compliance Indicators

Compliance with the Commitments will be assessed against the following Compliance Indicators. All of the applicable Compliance Indicators must be met by every ACFID Member to be considered compliant with the Code. Each of the Compliance Indicators has one or more compliance Verifiers. Verifiers are the description of evidence that is required to substantiate compliance with each Compliance Indicator. Guidance is also provided.

1.1.1 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to human rights.

Policy, statement or guidance document which commits Members to human rights, noting that human rights are for everyone, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class or socio-economic status.

GUIDANCE

At the most basic level, Members will have a formal statement that commits them to respect, protect and promote internationally recognised human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class or socio-economic status.

Agency ABC might have the following statement:

Agency ABC is an international development agency that respects, protects and promotes human rights for all, regardless of race, religion, ethnicity, indigeneity, disability, age, displacement, caste, gender, gender identity, sexuality, sexual orientation, poverty, class, or socio-economic status.
At a more advanced level, Members will outline their commitment to human rights through a policy and/or guidelines.

1.1.2 Members demonstrate an organisational commitment to the pursuit of racial justice.

Development and humanitarian initiatives show evidence of linkages to the pursuit of racial justice.

Guidance

Aligning development and humanitarian initiatives with the pursuit of racial justice enhances the effectiveness of our work and contributes to the realisation of human rights. Members must demonstrate a vision, mission and strategy that addresses racism. For example, a program focusing on maternal health could be designed to acknowledge and explicitly deconstruct systems and policies, actions and attitudes create inequitable sexual and reproductive health opportunities and outcomes for people based on race relevant to the context.  

Members can develop a have a racial justice action plan for the organisation and involve the leadership team to meet regularly to discuss actions on anti-racism, equity, diversity, and inclusion. This action plan could include recognising and addressing the imbalance of power in our work where ANGOs hold decision-making power on funding and resource allocation when working with local partners and communities. 

Members are encouraged to apply a racial justice lens when developing its locally led development strategy. Members can encourage all personnel to question ‘who’s in the room’ in regard to decision-making in programming. In your fundraising and communications, members are encouraged to actively review the images and narrative used, both internally and externally to ensure an anti-racist approach.  

Guidance on racial justice initiatives and approaches can be downloaded in the Resources Section below. 

1.1.3 Members contribute to the realisation of human rights in their development and humanitarian initiatives.

Development and humanitarian initiatives show evidence of linkages to the realisation of human rights.

Guidance

Aligning development and humanitarian initiatives with the realisation of human rights obligations enhances the legitimacy and effectiveness of our work. This does not mean that program or initiative goals to need to be expressed from a human rights perspective, but that Members should be able to show the linkages between their work and the realisation of human rights. For example, a program focusing on maternal health can be linked to sexual and reproductive rights. A table of the linkages between the Sustainable Development Goals and related human rights can be downloaded in the Resources Section below.

For those members who take a human-rights based approach to their work, they may frame their initiatives from a rights-based perspective that emphasises building the ability of rights-holders to claim their rights and build the capacity of duty bearers to fulfil human rights.

 

1.1.4 Members protect primary stakeholders from discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect based on an analysis of the context in which they are working.

Development and humanitarian initiatives consistently show evidence of strategies towards protecting primary stakeholders from discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect as relevant to the context.

Guidance

Through good analysis of the context in which they are working, Members can identify the risks that primary stakeholders face with regards to discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect and develop strategies to prevent or mitigate this. Members must do all they reasonably can to avoid exposing people to further harm, for example not building settlements for displaced people in unsafe areas and maintaining confidentiality for non-heterosexual stakeholders in areas where non-heterosexual sex is criminalised.

 

Good Practice Indicators

The following Good Practice Indicators describe a higher standard of practice than that set out in the Compliance Indicators.

While Members do not need to meet the Good Practice Indicators to be considered compliant with the Code, they will self-assess against these indicators once every three years. This provides a clear pathway for Members to strengthen and improve practice over time.

  • A human rights or rights based approach is integrated into programming.
  • Training is provided to staff and volunteers on a rights based approach to development.
  • Periodic evaluation and reflection on their rights based approaches is undertaken.
  • Information about issues relating to human rights is promoted to the public and external stakeholders.

Good Practice Guidance

Here are some practical suggestions for your organisation to further deepen and improve practice over time.

What is a human-rights based approach?

One way of understanding a human rights approach is to see our role as:

  • Helping to build the ability of rights-holders to claim their rights; and
  • Helping to build the capacity of duty bearers to fulfil the rights of their citizens.

A human rights approach will vary depending on the nature of the organisation concerned and the issues it deals with. Common principles, however, have been identified as the “PANEL” principles: Participation, Accountability, Non-discrimination and equality, Empowerment and Legality. The summary of these principles below is gratefully adapted from materials from the Scottish Human Rights Commission.

Participation

Everyone has the right to participate in decisions that affect them and their human rights. Participation must be active, free and meaningful, and give attention to issues of accessibility, including access to information in a form and a language which can be understood.

Accountability

Accountability requires effective monitoring of compliance with human rights standards and achievement of human rights goals, as well as effective remedies for human rights breaches. For accountability to be effective, there must be appropriate laws, policies, institutions, administrative procedures and mechanisms of redress in order to secure human rights.

Effective monitoring of compliance and achievement of human rights goals also requires development and use of appropriate human rights indicators.

Non-discrimination and equality

A human-rights approach means that all forms of discrimination in the realisation of rights must be prohibited, prevented and eliminated. It also means that priority should be given to people who are the most marginalised and vulnerable and face the biggest barriers to realising their rights.

Empowerment

Everyone is entitled to claim and exercise their rights and freedoms. Individuals and communities need to be able to understand their rights, and to participate fully in the development of policy and practices which affect their lives.

Legality

A human-rights approach requires that:

  • The law recognises human rights and freedoms as legally enforceable entitlements
  • The law itself is consistent with human rights principles.

What is an anti-racist approach?

The Australian Rights Commission states that ‘racism is the process by which systems and policies, actions and attitudes create inequitable opportunities and outcomes for people based on race. Racism is more than just prejudice in thought or action. It occurs when this prejudice – whether individual or institutional – is accompanied by the power to discriminate against, oppress or limit the rights of others.’

Racism in Australia and overseas can also intersect between gender, disability, age, class, socioeconomic background, sexual orientation, and other identities.

Anti-racism is the explicit commitment to recognising and ammending systemic inequities, idenitifying overt and covert forms of racism including discrimination, inequality, representation and microaggressions, and reflecting on and addressing privilege.

ACFID notes that Australia’s international aid and development organisations are yet to achieve representation, participation, and access to decision making that reflects the ethnic composition of Australian society and the overseas communities we seek to serve and work with.

Governance

  • Analyse the way that your existing aims and objectives are underpinned by human rights principles, whether or not expressed in these terms
  • Include human rights as a key part of your mission statement
  • Integrate human rights into your development goals and objectives in governance, strategy and programming
  • Become familiar with and raise awareness of internationally recognised human rights principles
  • Consider human rights in strategic planning and management decisions
  • Recognise women’s rights and the sexual rights of all individuals as fundamental human rights
  • Recognise children as distinct holders of their own rights

Reporting

  • Regularly report to your governing body and broader constituency on human rights issues to embed a commitment to human rights within your organisation
  • Develop performance indicators to monitor how your operations impact on human rights
  • Regularly review performance indicators and assessment against the indicators

Policy

Demonstrate your commitment to internationally recognised human rights principles through developing policies that address key human rights. These policies should:

  • Support the principles of participation, accountability, non-discrimination and empowerment
  • Link your policy to international human rights standards
  • State that rights are inalienable, indivisible and universal
  • Commit to respect, protect and promote human rights and to avoid complicity in human rights abuses
  • Be relevant and specific to the organisation’s operations
  • Include how the policy applies to all of your stakeholders
  • Link to other relevant internal and external laws, policies, codes and guidelines

Programs

  • Integrate a rights-based approach into programming, including program design and program evaluation. This will require paying careful attention to whose rights are not being upheld, in the context within which you work.
  • Conduct situational analyses of the human rights situation where your program is located to inform development objectives and priorities
  • Undertake gender and power analysis in the design phase of any program
  • Recognise that human rights are inalienable and ensure programs assist stakeholders realise a greater scope of rights and do not cause right regressions (e.g. fulfilling a child’s right to education by placing a child in residential care and therefore violating their right to be raised in a family).
  • Negotiate the terms, objectives and direction of any program so that it genuinely reflects the community’s wants and needs
  • Determine human rights objectives of the program
  • Develop ways to empower local communities and monitor and evaluate progress
  • Mainstream human rights as a cross-cutting issue in project cycle management
  • Ensure meaningful local stakeholder participatory processes and consultations throughout the life of the program

Specific human rights activities

  • Contribute analysis to the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) undertaken by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council. This review of the human rights record of every member of the UN is done once every four years.
  • Advocate for non-state actors, such as the private sector and multinational companies, to be bound by human rights standards
  • Fund human rights education programs
  • Undertake specific human rights projects or programs such as training programs or activities for the rights of women; lesbians, gays, bisexuals, trans people and other sexual minorities; indigenous peoples; migrant workers; minorities; people with a disability; refugees; asylum seekers; children; or the aged.
  • Provide human rights training to staff and partners
  • Invest in research on particular human rights issues
  • Advocate to governments to make changes to law, policy or practice to better support human rights
  • Facilitate the discussion of human rights in local communities
  • Support human rights advocacy at the local or international level
  • Support emergency responses and protection work
  • Develop and implement a strategy for consulting with communities to identify human rights issues in emergency response and ‘protection’ work
  • Develop opportunities to empower partners and communities
  • Ensure that the design and delivery of services meets the needs of the most vulnerable and marginalised and considers risks arising from people’s participation and engagement.

Communications

  • Take advantage of your role in shaping the views of stakeholders by promoting human rights principles in your organisation’s work.
  • Use clear, accessible and consistent messages, information and resources targeting a wide range of stakeholders in our sphere of influence – including rights-holders, broader communities, other organisations, government departments and the media.
  • Promote communications mechanisms through which your partners and stakeholders are able to make comments, suggestions and complaints
  • Provide human rights information in external newsletters and on your website
  • Develop stakeholder advisory panels to establish better dialogue with program beneficiaries and the broader community
  • Include human rights language in advocacy work with other agencies, and in submissions to government consultation processes.

ACFID Resources

ACFID Human Rights Practice Note

This resource is about provide a possible definition of human rights-based approaches as defined by ACFID. This is suitable for all organisations. This is relevant to the Code in order to support organisations in the consideration of human rights and their work.

ACFID Rights in Sight

This report is the result of a study, commissioned by a group of ACFID members, to document and define the sector's views and practices of development aid and humanitarian initiatives to the realisation of human rights. See p.6 for a summary of key findings. This is suitable for all organisations and is relevant to those developing policies, statements or commitments to human rights. It is also relevant to organisations wanting to evidence their ...

Blog on Rights-Based Approaches (Spotlight on the Code)

This resource is about rights-based approaches (RBA) in development. This is suitable for small organisations developing their methodology and programming. This is relevant to the Code because it shows organisational commitment to human rights, contributes to the realisation of human rights, and contributes to protecting primary stakeholders from discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect.

Decolonisation & Locally Led Development: Discussion Paper

This resource is an ACFID discussion paper that pape outlines a two-handed pathway for change in the way that embers coordinate with and complement the work of others. It emphasises a shared process of 'yielding and wielding power' between ANGOs and local partners. This resource is suitable for organisations interested in fostering diversity, equity, and inclusion working with others. This is relevant to the Code by highlighting the importance of ...

Racial Justice Community of Practice Resource Library Guidance

This resource is curates a selection of guides and how-tos on developing an organisational culture for anti-racism change. It includes case studies from other Australian NGOs. This is suitable for all organisations beginning their anti-racism journey. This is relevant to the Code because demonstrating a commitment to racial justice is a new requirement.

Other Resources

From Principle to Practice: Implementing the human rights based approach in community organisations

This resource, commissioned by ACFID, is about implementing human rights principles into a conventional management system - operations and activities - without undermining other business goals. This is suitable for all organisations. This is relevant to the Code because organisations need to demonstrate and contribute to the realisation of human rights.

IASC Accountability and Inclusion Resources Portal: Protection from Sexual Exploitation and Abuse

The Inter-Agency Standing Committee (IASC) supports humanitarian organisations to deliver on safeguarding commitments through technical support, resources and partnerships. This is suitable for all organisations. This is relevant to the Code because signatory organisations must show evidence of strategies towards protecting primary stakeholders from discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect.

Learning Paper – Faith, sexual orientation, gender identity and the ACFID Code of Conduct

This Paper reports on an action learning project undertaken by the Sexual Rights in Development Community of Practice in recognition of the challenges and possibilities that this acknowledgment might present for ACFID members.

Protecting people in locally led disaster response

‘Protecting people in locally-led disaster response’ affirms that there are distinct and important continued protection roles for local, national and international actors in the Pacific. This is suitable for all organisations working in the Pacific. This is relevant to the Code because signatory organisations must show evidence of strategies towards protecting primary stakeholders from discrimination, violence, abuse, exploitation or neglect.

Safeguarding Vulnerable People

This is ACNC's guidance defining safeguarding and vulnerable people. It also outlines your charity's legal obligations. This guidance includes a safeguarding assessment and checklist, as well as templates for your charity's use. This is suitable for new applicants or emerging organisations. This is relevant to the Code because it is a legal obligation to know of the potential risks of working with vulnerable people, and the steps your charity should take to manage them.

Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights

This resource is about the United Nations 2030 Sustainable Development Goals and its linkages to human rights. This is relevant to all organisations wanting to evidence their development and / or humanitarian initiatives to the realisation of human rights. This resource is also available in a long-form report format and is available in Arabic, Chinese, French, Russian, and Spanish.

The Core International Human Rights Instruments and their monitoring bodies

This resource summarises the 9 core international human rights treaties. This is suitable for all organisations to ensure all members understand and commit to the inclusion and representation of those who are in vulnerable positions or experiencing marginalisation or exclusion – temporarily or ongoing. This resource is also available in the French and Spanish.

Universal Declaration on Human Rights

This resource is Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR). This is a a milestone document, drafted by representatives with different legal and cultural backgrounds from all regions of the world, as the common standard of achievement, rights and freedoms for all peoples and all nations. This is suitable for all organisations and is relevant to those developing policies, statements or commitments to human rights. This resource is also available in an illustrated format.
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