Realizing Human Rights through Government Budgets

image of Realizing Human Rights through Government Budgets

This publication explores the linkages between obligations under international human rights law and budget policies and processes. It seeks to sensitize government officials to better understand their human rights obligations as they decide budget allocations, implement planned expenditures, and assess the budget’s impact on the realization of human rights. And, it aims to provide non-governmental actors with information about the relationship of human rights to budget processes and specific budget decisions, so that they are better able to hold their governments to account. This is especially important for the poorest and most marginalized groups, because they are more dependent on government programmes to realize their rights than those who are better off.




Human rights embody the minimum requirements for a dignified life, applicable to all people everywhere. These needs protected by human rights include adequate food, health, education, work and shelter, among others. People also need to be able to speak and express themselves freely, participate in public affairs, form peaceful associations and practise their religions without fear. The human rights vision incorporates images of how a society should be organized to ensure that people are able to live their lives not alone, but in the company of others—to ensure that they are able to live with their families, associate with others to achieve common goals, vote for a government of their choice, and access justice when wrongs occur.


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