Advancing the Nexus of Human Rights and Peacebuilding

In this paper, Riva Kantowitz discusses how human rights, sustaining peace and sustainable development share a number of foundational concepts and values.

Publication details

Title:Advancing the Nexus of Human Rights and Peacebuilding
Type:Development Dialogue Papers
Author:Riva Kantowitz

Many within the United Nations system have highlighted the innate relationship between human rights and sustaining peace. The UN Sustaining Peace resolutions reaffirm this link and emphasise the importance of a comprehensive approach to sustaining peace.

As the International Peace Institute notes, ‘Human rights can contribute to sustaining peace by providing an internationally agreed normative framework and standards that apply at all times, during peace and war, in all operational environments at the different phases of peacebuilding. They offer a valuable analytical tool that helps identify root causes of conflict, risks, discrimination and inequalities and have important contributions to make to both long-term structural prevention and more immediate preventive actions in a conflict. They are setting the parameters for real world solutions on the ground.’

These real-world solutions are fundamental to the advancement of the UN’s goals; integrating human rights analysis into peacebuilding work will further opportunities for sustaining peace by providing greater understanding of root causes of violence. The sustaining peace resolutions and the 2020 Review of the UN Peacebuilding Architecture present a pivotal opportunity to examine ways in which human rights and peacebuilding can be better integrated, operationalised and advanced.

This working paper is meant to stimulate dialogue with regards to a landscape simultaneously characterised by disconnects and progress in bridging them. This is a conversation that shifts rapidly and has many different constituencies including but not limited to: multilateral actors in New York and Geneva; governments; INGOs; and stakeholders in national contexts who live these realities and naturally take a more holistic approach to their work. The ideas presented here are a starting point for discussion; further thinking and application is required to address the concerns of and provide more nuanced recommendations to each of the relevant audiences.