Policy Making and Human Rights

By The End Of This Section You Will Know:

  • How to use HRIA to identify whether human rights have been interfered with and if this is justifiable
  • The PANEL principles
  • The importance of including human rights considerations in the policy making process

Policy making has been defined as the process by which governments translate their political vision into programmes and actions to deliver 'outcomes' in the real world.  Many departments in the Northern Ireland Civil Service are tasked with developing policy and delivering services that are essentially about realising human rights. 

As public servants the issues that we deal with on a daily basis such as justice, education, welfare, health and housing all carry duties under domestic and international law to protect and fulfil people’s human rights. Human rights awareness for civil servants working in policy is therefore of key importance as human rights standards must be adequately considered throughout the process and the resulting policies and legislation must be human rights compliant. 

Policy development and delivery is conducted in complex economic, social and political environments and requires particular knowledge and skills to be successful. There are a range of ‘Strategy and Policy’ development courses available through the Centre for Applied Learning (CAL) to support staff development in this area. This includes a course developed with the NIHRC called ‘Policy Making and Human Rights.'