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Our members’ work is underpinned by the respect and promotion of human rights. Misean Cara funding has supported our members’ commitment to these values through their work around the world.


Volunteers Natasha Hector and Janine Juries work with the Screen Printing Project with Prison Care and Support Network in South Africa’s Cape Town. This project is supported by the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters). Photo: Jean Curran.

Volunteers Natasha Hector and Janine Juries work with the Screen Printing Project with Prison Care and Support Network in South Africa’s Cape Town. This project is supported by the Institute of the Blessed Virgin Mary (Loreto Sisters). Photo: Jean Curran.

Globally millions of people around the world suffer from serious human right violations, and lack of basic rights and freedoms. This includes poverty, homelessness, abuse, neglect, preventable diseases, and unequal access to education, health or justice systems. Consequently for hundreds of years, missionaries have been involved in a quest for human dignity, social justice and an end to poverty.

A review of Misean Cara applications reveals that member organisations are increasingly involved in human rights initiatives. These range from working with scheduled tribes in India; cross border Burmese migrants in Thailand; child labour in mining communities in Democratic Republic of Congo; gender based violence in South Africa; victims of violence and indigenous groups in South America, trafficking of women and children in India and Thailand; children in need of special protection; refugees and internally displaced persons, and action related to extractive industries.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights states that respect for human rights is the foundation of freedom, justice and peace in the world. Through their focus on working with and accompanying some of the poorest and most marginalised people in the world, our members strive to promote universal human rights and protect the dignity of every person.

Some of these interventions are linking the micro (targeting individuals); to the meso (working with civil society networks, capacity building, and advocacy); and the macro (national policies, law, and shadow reports to UN bodies). In addition, some member organisations have consultative status with UN Treaty Bodies.

The following outlines how Misean Cara supports human rights interventions, in line with the strategic intent set out in the Strategic Plan 2013-2016. Objective 4 of the Strategic Plan addresses human rights initiatives: “Support high quality advocacy; and human rights initiatives aimed at tackling the structural causes of poverty, marginalisation and injustice. “

In applying for support for Human Rights initiatives from Misean Cara under the Micro Project Support Scheme (MPSS) or Project Support Scheme (1 year PSS or Multi-Annual PSSM), the application should demonstrate how an intervention will make a contribution to at least one of the following three strategic objectives, and also include some of the suggested priority action areas.

Strategic Objective 4.1: Prioritise support of initiatives aimed at tackling the structural causes of marginalisation and injustice for specific groups such as marginalised communities or groups, minorities, prisoners, persons with disabilities, groups working on women’s rights, and the right to a healthy environment.

Suggested priority action areas:

  •  Support efforts that address the structural causes for the non-realisation of rights including lack of enforcement of law, policy, allocation of resources; and political, social, cultural and economic factors.
  •  Support human rights education for targeted communities/right-holders, and initiatives that build knowledge, skills and influence attitudes.
  •  Support efforts to strengthen legislative frameworks for human rights, and linkages to National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI), Ombudspersons; and participation in the international human rights systems, such as the Universal Periodic Review (UPR), and Special Rapporteurs Reports.
  •  Support initiatives that monitor, document and address specific human rights abuses.
  •  Support efforts to provide free legal protection or aid for victims of abuses; and efforts to protect human rights defenders. For example, legal protection, shelters for abused women or children, birth registration, identification cards, voter registration or land titles.

Strategic Objective 4.2: Provide capacity building for members and their partners who wish to explore a rights-based approach (RBA).

Suggested priority action areas:

  • Support training in Rights Based Approaches (RBA) to programming, using UN or recognised manuals and curriculum.
  • Support initiatives that clearly identify and empower ‘right-holders’ as key actors in their own development, rather than passive recipients of aid, services or charity.
  • Support initiatives that identify specific human rights claims of rights holders, and  corresponding human rights obligations of duty bearers, e.g. local government, judiciary, police e.g. right to food.
  • Support initiatives that promote human rights principles of Participation, Accountability, Non-Discrimination, Empowerment and Links to Human Rights Instruments (PANEL).
  • Support measures that build the capacity of local government and other duty-bearers to fulfil their legal obligations such as training of District Officials, Magistrates, MPs, and Councillors in RBA; or sensitization of secondary duty-bearers including parents, teachers, nurses, religious or community leaders around human rights abuses and discrimination
  • Support interventions that protect and promote the role of civil society.

Strategic Objective 4.3: Provide capacity building for members and their partners on the advocacy skills required to defend human rights internationally.

Suggested priority action areas:

  •  Provide capacity building for Misean Cara member organisations, partners and human rights defenders who wish to build their knowledge, and lobbying and advocacy skills regarding the use of Treaty Monitoring Bodies (TMBs), and the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) process at the national level to promote the implementation of UN recommendations.
  •  Provide support to capacity building or educational interventions that strengthen knowledge and skills of rights holders on specific human rights. For example, civic education, human rights, education, leadership training or transformative education.
  •  Provide capacity building for Misean Cara members and partners on skills required to access remedy and redress i.e. judicial, administrative, and legal redress; or alternative/local justice systems that are recognised and linked to formal justice systems.

Supplementary guidance for applicants is provided in the Annexes of the Human Rights Funding Guidelines including guidance on the assessment criteria for applications in the area of Human Rights, and examples of existing rights and indicators which can be used to measure changes and progress towards outputs and outcomes.