Mainstreaming Human Rights

23 Pages Posted: 26 Jul 2004

See all articles by Christopher McCrudden

Christopher McCrudden

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law; University of Michigan Law School; University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law


The advent of the Human Rights Act 1998 has significantly increased consideration of how best to ensure the effective delivery of human rights in the United Kingdom. In this paper I examine an additional mechanism, the "mainstreaming" of human rights in governmental decision-making, which may help to address some of the limits of existing approaches to human rights compliance. By "mainstreaming," I mean the reorganization, improvement, development and evaluation of policy processes, so that a human rights perspective is incorporated in all policies at all levels and at all stages, by the actors normally involved in policy-making. My discussion of the issue reaches the conclusion that mainstreaming human rights is a desirable policy but that there is a need for considerably more discussion as to the most effective practical means of achieving this and that some methods that have been suggested might be counter-productive. I attempt to draw out some of the issues that need to be considered in adopting mainstreaming. In particular, the applicability of existing approaches to equality mainstreaming to human rights is examined.

Keywords: mainstreaming, human rights, United Kingdom

JEL Classification: K10, K23

Suggested Citation

McCrudden, Christopher, Mainstreaming Human Rights. Available at SSRN:

Christopher McCrudden (Contact Author)

Queen's University Belfast - School of Law ( email )

School of Law
Belfast BT7 1NN, Northern Ireland BT7 1NN
United Kingdom

University of Michigan Law School ( email )

625 South State Street
Ann Arbor, MI 48109-1215
United States

University of California, Berkeley - Berkeley Center on Comparative Equality & Anti-Discrimination Law

Boalt Hall
Berkeley, CA 94720-7200
United States

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