From Principles to Practice

building the human rights capacity of the Third sector

BIHR's Principles to Practice project aims to strengthen the capacity of the third sector to understand and apply human rights based approaches (HRBAs) in their work. The third sector has a critical role to play in making human rights real for the people and communities they represent and support, as an advocate, community development agent, campaigner or service provider. The project has a particular focus on third sector organisations working on issues around equality, social exclusion and community relations.

The objectives of the project are to:

  • Raise third sector awareness and understanding of HRBAs and their relevance for their work
  • Develop and deliver human rights capacity building support for the third sector, enabling the sector to apply and contribute to the development of HRBAs in relevant aspects of their work
  • Foster improved dialogue and joint working on human rights within the third sector, and between the third and public sectors
  • Produce an evidence based foundation on which BIHR and others can develop longer term and sustainable infrastructure or second tier human rights supports for the third sector


The Equality and Human Rights Commission provided grant funding for 2008/09 towards the development and delivery of activities for the first year of the Principles to Practice project. The following activities are being undertaken in partnership and with the support of national and regional equality organisations and networks:

  • Development of an advisory group drawn from equality and social inclusion third sector organisations
  • Development and delivery of regional needs scoping events that took place in October and November 2008. These events aimed to raise awareness of human rights and identify sector priorities and capacity building needs
  • Production and dissemination of an interim third sector human rights capacity building needs report based on the learning from regional events and collated findings of existing research/consultation of BIHR and others. This report will be available shortly
  • Production of a series of short and accessible information materials on human rights, tailored for support and frontline third sector organisations
  • Development and delivery of an open programme of free/subsidised training courses targeting/in partnership with existing third sector support providers and frontline organisations
  • Development of a HRBA tool and guide with accompanying train the trainer notes and a train the trainer module
  • Evaluation and recommendation report on the future HRBA support needs of the third sector
  • Development of the forward strategy for Principles to Practice

For further information on this and our other projects please contact us on or 0207 882 5850.

Please visit our training pages for information about the training we provide for third sector organisations.

In addition to the above work, we also work in partnership with a range of third sector organisations on smaller projects working on specific areas or with particular groups. These include:

Older People and Human Rights Project
BIHR and Age Concern England are working in partnership on a 3 year (2008 - 11) project to empower disadvantaged older people to use human rights to influence decisions affecting their lives and wider public policy. Read about the project here.

Regional development - Yorkshire and the Humber
BIHR is working in partnership with Just West Yorkshire on a human rights capacity development project in the Yorkshire and the Humber region. The project is funded by the Equality and Human Rights Commission and runs from October 2009 - April 2010. Project activities include a series of awareness raising events, a guidance pack and evaluation. 5 awareness raising events will take place in February cross the region - more details can be found here.

Progress Towards Equality
The Progress Towards Equality Project was a 12 month project funded by the European Community Programme for Employment and Social Solidarity - Progress. The aim of the project was to raise awareness of anti-discrimination legislation and human rights amongst front line advisors. 5 regional awareness-raising events took place around the UK between August and November 2008. The project also produced a website and a range of information resources for the general public on anti-discrimination legislation and human rights.

BIHR was a project partner alongside the following organisations: AdviceUK; AdviceNI; Citizens Advice; Citizens Advice Scotland; NIACAB; Law Centres Federation; AdviceNow.

A full report of the project can be found here.

Past events

In November 2006 BIHR and the National Council for Voluntary Organisations (NCVO) co-hosted a consultative roundtable entitled ‘Human Rights and the Voluntary and Community Sector'. Download the report from the meeting.

In December 2006 representatives from London's voluntary and community sector came together at a free consultation event to discuss their relationship with the Equality and Human Rights Commission and suggest key regional priorities. This event was organised by Race on the Agenda, the London Civic Forum, the London Voluntary Services Council and BIHR. Download the report from this consultation.


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