A note from the team leader of Inclusive Societies
Inclusion is ultimately about the dignity and worth of every person, which is the backbone of all human rights. Much of our work since our founding in 1984 has been dedicated towards this aim.
There is a pressing need to develop societies that embrace diversity and pluralism in the face of the many deep structural inequities and exclusion that persist in countries and regions across the world.
Overcoming exclusion requires accessible and effective remedies to enable rights’ vindication. Such remedies need to be appropriately adapted to take account of the special vulnerability of certain groups. Mechanisms for addressing claims of rights violations must themselves be inclusive.
An inclusive society aims at empowering and promoting the social, economic, and political inclusion of all, irrespective of age, sex, disability, race, ethnicity, origin, religion, economic, or other status. It is a society that leaves no one behind.
We work to ensure that societies are open and inclusive to all. This involves:
- Advancing research and knowledge on how to build inclusive societies
- Developing direct engagement with stakeholders that can develop and implement more inclusive societies
- Strengthening inclusion for migrants and refugees
- Bringing about more accessible and effective remedies for the protection of human rights
- Promoting the right to participation with the aim of empowering individuals
- Employing a human-rights based approach (HRBA) to inclusion, because inclusion is not about the benevolence of the powerful or the majority in opening up for the excluded
We employ models of inclusion that are based on international human rights standards in all of our country and regional programmes. We also promote such models in our global cooperation partnerships.
Inclusion requires change in strategies, approaches, and policies, so that the needs and priorities of all are recognized from the initial stages of every decision-making process.
Inclusion is about empowering members of society who have been subjected to discrimination and whose rights have been violated as a result of social and political processes that disregard the right to participation. RWI recognizes local administrations as important actors in this regard.
To that end, we work and partner with cities and organisations that seek to put in practice the concept of the human rights city. That is as a place where local government, businesses and organisations apply international human rights standards, and where individuals are empowered to claim their rights and participate in the decision-making.
We give special attention to inclusion dynamics of people on the move. It is important to recognise that migrant and refugee populations are not homogenous, and experience different forms of discrimination, xenophobia and hate crimes. We aim at advancing inclusion models that improve their access to core rights, and participation in societies.
This initiative, in partnership with the Open Society Initiative for Europe (OSIFE), is an effort to strengthen the active participation of refugees and minorities in the policy and decision making processes which affect their lives.
There is no universal definition of a Human Rights City, but in short, it is a place where local government, local parliament, civil society, private sector and other stakeholders ensure the application of international human rights standards.
The Inclusive Societies team