Human Rights: Overview

Why Human Rights?

When CAN was founded, in 1987, our work was based on identifying the needs of communities and working towards meeting those needs. However, that has changed, and CAN now pursues a human-rights based approach to issues of social injustice. Human rights describe minimum standards, accepted voluntarily by states and internationally recognised. People have rights, and governments and others have a duty to respect, protect and fulfil those rights.

CAN frames the work in terms of people’s human rights, rather than simply their needs. This ensures that the focus of the work is on wider social standards, rather than individual assessments of injustice and inequality.   

CAN works with people and communities to develop an understanding of their rights and helps them organise to assert these rights for themselves and others like them.

What do we do?

We work to influence social policy, to extend human rights in equality legislation at the systemic level. We lead long-term human rights campaigns in relation to social, economic, and cultural rights. We work with community activists, legal and technical experts, the media and everyone who can progress human rights. We encourage and mentor other agencies and organisations to work with a human rights approach. We contribute to learning events, research, workshops, nationally and internationally, to develop new ways of working with participatory methodologies. In addition, we create and nurture spaces where people can frame their lived experience when their rights are not respected.

Our Human Rights Goals

  • To create and nurture environments where people as rights holders can frame their lived experience of the denial of rights and equality. 
  • To initiate and lead long-term human rights and equality campaigns in relation to social, economic and cultural rights and the right to participate. 
  • To work in collaboration with rights holders, community activists, technical, legal and human rights experts, the media and any person or body that can advance the realisation of rights. 
  • To mentor others to apply a human-rights and equality-based approach to their work practice. 
  • To make the human rights and equality dimension of issues more explicit for ourselves and those with whom we work. 
  • To influence policy that promotes the realisation of human rights and the broadening and effective implementation of equality legislation. 
  • To hold duty bearers to account, while working collaboratively with them at every opportunity to protect, respect and fulfil human rights. 
  • To contribute to learning events, research and workshops nationally and internationally to share learning and develop new ways of working.

See more …

Human Rights Overview
Racial Justice Overview
Collective Complaints
Service Users Rights In Action
Community Safety
Community Benefit From Public Procurement
Rialto Rights In Action
Abusive Lending Practice
Publications: Human Rights