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Humanist Committee on Human Rights
Mechanism of Operation

The Humanist Committee on Human Rights (HOM) works to improve human rights, for all people, all over the world. We uphold international standards and values, such as:
Human rights are universal: all people should have equal rights;
Human rights are indivisible: the value of one right does not supersede the value of any other;
Human rights are interdependent: one right can help to realize another right. An example - having the right to education influences the acceptance of the right to vote. The converse is also true - a person who has received an education is likely to realize the importance of voting.
International standards are laid down in international treaties and the legislation of individual countries. Citizens have the right to appeal to these standards if they feel they have been treated in an unjust manner. The aim of HOM is to contribute to the effective implementation of human rights by means of:
developing instruments to measure the effectiveness and impact of human rights policy; capacity-building efforts in human rights organizations throughout the world;
influencing Dutch and European human rights policy;
carrying out tasks (such as evaluations) to advance human rights (see Consultancy).

It is HOM's objective, together with policymakers and others concerned, to develop instruments to measure the effectiveness and impact of human rights policy. To do so, a proper analysis of the current situation is essential. From there, priorities and goals can be set, criteria for successful intervention established and an estimate made of expected results. This approach is characteristic of Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA). HOM is developing the HRIA concept on the policy, programme and project level. At the same time HOM aims to expedite the practical implementation of HRIA. HOM maintains contact with policymakers in the Netherlands and in Europe and cooperates with NGOs, combining research, practical testing, networking and policy influence.

A similar tool has been developed for businesses that wish to increase their commitment to human rights compliance. The Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA) provides insight into the influence business policies and practice can have on human rights. HRCA goes further than most existing assessments: it is based on international norms and principles in the area of human rights. Moreover, it also has a broader focus than the work-floor alone, taking the company's wider sphere of influence into account, for example: how it operates within the chain or the community where it is located. HRCA was developed in cooperation with companies and business organizations throughout Europe to ensure that the practical interests and demands of the business world play a central role.

Both the Dutch government and international platforms consider the issue of gender a priority. For years HOM has been directing attention on the broader area of women's human rights and is unique in combining a focus on both gender and human rights. At present HOM is developing an instrument to measure the effects of policy on women's health rights.



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