Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach


A human-rights based approach means: empowering stakeholders, according to the established human rights framework, with a clear accountability and prioritising those who are most discriminated against.

A HRBA has the following key elements:

  • Empowers stakeholders: all key stakeholders (policy-makers, care workers and older persons) are empowered and can participate in achieving the realisation of rights, particularly older service-users
  • Takes into account the wider national and international human rights framework: the rights promoted are explicitly linked to national and international human rights law – click here for an overview of the international human rights standards relevant to LTC
  • Provides clear accountability
  • Prioritises the most discriminated against, marginalised or excluded people.

Human rights principles that underpin a HRBA

A HRBA is underpinned by five key human rights principles.
They are known as the PANEL principles:

Participation- older persons in receipt of care should participate in all decisions about the care and support they are receiving.
Accountability and Transparency of duty-bearers to rights-holders- those involved in the provision, commissioning and policy-making of long-term care have a responsibility to ensure that the standards of accountability and transparency for human rights are as high as possible, as well as providing effective remedies when breaches do occur.
Non-discrimination and equality - older persons also have different identities based on their gender, ethnicity, religion and many other grounds. Each of these identities should be respected when receiving care and support services.
Empowerment of rights holders - all older persons in receipt of care should understand what their rights are and how they can claim these rights. Achieving this may require the provision of appropriate advocacy or other communication support.
Legality – public authorities and care providers must be sure that their practices and procedures are grounded in human rights law and must not breach the human rights of anyone.