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Universal Enforcement or Local Empowerment? A Minor Field Study of International Aid Workers in Rwanda with a Human Rights Based Approach to Development

Holmbäck, Christopher (2006)
Sociology
Abstract
The rights-based approach (RBA) to development is a response to the perception that development aid has largely failed to overcome discriminatory structures and to help the poorest. The RBA aims to empower the powerless and focuses more on the processes in society than on delivering services. In reality however, these intentions are implemented very differently. This thesis analyses how rights-based practitioners working in international NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) in Rwanda talk and act to give poor people more power. The primary material consists of interviews and observations with rights-based practitioners in Rwanda. The thesis describes how the international aid system makes it difficult for international and local NGOs to... (More)
The rights-based approach (RBA) to development is a response to the perception that development aid has largely failed to overcome discriminatory structures and to help the poorest. The RBA aims to empower the powerless and focuses more on the processes in society than on delivering services. In reality however, these intentions are implemented very differently. This thesis analyses how rights-based practitioners working in international NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) in Rwanda talk and act to give poor people more power. The primary material consists of interviews and observations with rights-based practitioners in Rwanda. The thesis describes how the international aid system makes it difficult for international and local NGOs to be accountable and for the beneficiaries to be empowered. Furthermore, the thesis argues that the political environment in Rwanda is hostile towards human rights promoters. Rights-based practitioners are found not to deal primarily with these difficult issues but rather to focus on changing local NGOs, colleagues, and powerless people so that they will obtain a better understanding of human rights. The term "abstractionism" is developed by the author to describe a process where an abstract understanding of universal human rights and the RBA is rewarded by rights-based practitioners whereas practical experiences and everyday rights struggles are diminished. (Less)
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author
Holmbäck, Christopher
supervisor
organization
year
type
H1 - Master's Degree (One Year)
subject
keywords
rights-based approach (RBA) to development, international NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations), human rights, abstractionism, Rwanda, Sociology, Sociologi
language
English
id
1326222
date added to LUP
2006-06-13
date last changed
2011-05-12 15:48:37
@misc{1326222,
  abstract     = {The rights-based approach (RBA) to development is a response to the perception that development aid has largely failed to overcome discriminatory structures and to help the poorest. The RBA aims to empower the powerless and focuses more on the processes in society than on delivering services. In reality however, these intentions are implemented very differently. This thesis analyses how rights-based practitioners working in international NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations) in Rwanda talk and act to give poor people more power. The primary material consists of interviews and observations with rights-based practitioners in Rwanda. The thesis describes how the international aid system makes it difficult for international and local NGOs to be accountable and for the beneficiaries to be empowered. Furthermore, the thesis argues that the political environment in Rwanda is hostile towards human rights promoters. Rights-based practitioners are found not to deal primarily with these difficult issues but rather to focus on changing local NGOs, colleagues, and powerless people so that they will obtain a better understanding of human rights. The term "abstractionism" is developed by the author to describe a process where an abstract understanding of universal human rights and the RBA is rewarded by rights-based practitioners whereas practical experiences and everyday rights struggles are diminished.},
  author       = {Holmbäck, Christopher},
  keyword      = {rights-based approach (RBA) to development,international NGOs (Non-Governmental Organisations),human rights,abstractionism,Rwanda,Sociology,Sociologi},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Universal Enforcement or Local Empowerment? A Minor Field Study of International Aid Workers in Rwanda with a Human Rights Based Approach to Development},
  year         = {2006},
}