Human Rights for All Post-2015: A Litmus Test

The Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus was born in 2013 as a cross-constituency coalition of development, environment, trade union, feminist and human rights organizations worldwide to lay out a roadmap for embedding human rights into the core of the post-2015 sustainable development agenda. As the Open Working Group’s (OWG) efforts near completion and the full-blown political negotiations begin, the Post-2015 Human Rights Caucus has developed this Litmus Test to be used to evaluate whether proposals for the post-2015 framework respect and reflect pre-existing human rights norms, standards and commitments, in line with the Rio+20 agreement that sustainable development goals be “consistent with international law”. This series of questions and criteria not only clearly articulate our bottom-line expectations for the outcomes of the post-2015 sustainable development process, but also provides a unique tool for all those involved to more objectively assess whether post-2015 proposals truly encapsulate what the UN Secretary General envisioned as “a far-reaching vision of the future firmly anchored in human rights.”

A pdf of the Human Rights for All Post-2015 Litmus Test can be downloaded here.

If your organization would like to offer its backing to the Human Rights for All Post-2015 Litmus Test, please fill out the online form here. You can also forward your organization's logo to CESR Communications Coordinator Luke Holland at:

Do the post-2015 sustainable development framework proposals…

Test 1: Support human rights comprehensively, taking into consideration their universality, indivisibility and interdependence?

(a) Apply universally to all people in all countries, while recognizing local realities.

(b) Frame all goals and targets consistently with existing human rights obligations.

(c) Improve the accessibility, availability, acceptability, and quality of goods and services essential to realizing economic, social and cultural rights, in particular the human rights to health, education, food, water, sanitation, housing and social security.

(d) Include concrete targets to protect civil and political rights, in particular the freedoms of expression, association, peaceful protest, political participation, access to information, and guarantees an enabling environment for civil society and human rights and environmental defenders.

Test 2: Ensure full transparency and meaningful participation of all people, especially the most disadvantaged, in decision-making at all levels?

(a) Ensure the right to prompt and effective access to high-quality information on public policies, including on budget, financial and tax policies, disaggregated on the basis of various grounds of discrimination, including compound and intersecting forms.

(b) Secure active and meaningful participation of all without fear in the design, implementation, and monitoring of all relevant policies and programs, and in decisions about how they are resourced.

Test 3: Ensure human rights accountability of all development actors?

(a) Support citizen-led systems of monitoring of performance in meeting the goals.

(b) Ensure human rights accountability domestically, including by securing for all the right to effective remedy for civil, political, social, economic, cultural and environmental human rights abuses through equal access to and confidence in effective, accountable and impartial justice systems.

(c) Ensure human rights accountability internationally, including by supporting access to effective remedy for those people adversely affected by policies which have spillover effects across borders.

(d) Eradicate existing barriers to justice, particularly for people in poverty and other disadvantaged groups.

Test 4: Guarantee that the private sector respects human rights?

(a) Promote effective legislative and regulatory measures to guarantee in practice that all companies act in line with international human rights law and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

(b) Introduce mandatory, independent assessments and periodic public reporting of the human rights and sustainable development impacts of large businesses.

Test 5: Combat inequality and end discrimination in all its forms?

(a) Guarantee timely collection of disaggregated data on the basis of the most nationally-relevant grounds of disparity and discrimination, taking into account compound and intersecting discrimination.

(b) Ensure that any non-zero or non-universal sectoral commitments are complemented by time-bound targets to progressively eliminate inequalities between groups by prioritizing a more ambitious rate of progress for those most disadvantaged groups.

(c) Combat economic inequality within and between countries.

(d) Protect decent work and fundamental worker's rights for all, reducing unfair income disparities.

(e) Seek to eradicate cross-border tax evasion, return stolen assets, forgive odious debt and progressively combat tax abuses as critical instruments to reduce inequality between countries.

Test 6: Specifically and comprehensively support girls’ and women’s rights?

(a) Ensure all individuals meaningful access, including financial access, to acceptable, available, and quality sexual and reproductive health information and services and full sexual and reproductive autonomy.

(b) Prevent, investigates and punishes all forms of gender-based violence, including harmful traditional practices.

(c) Increase the share of women’s control over land, property, productive and natural resources, their economic independence, access to labor market and political participation.

(d) Reduce the burden of unpaid care work.

(e) Eliminate the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination women and girls face, and entails a series of positive measures to overcome structural discrimination and ensure substantive enjoyment of equality.

(f) Ensure that gender equality and girls’ and women’s rights are mainstreamed throughout all goals, including by developing gender-sensitive targets under other goals.

Test 7: Secure a minimum floor of socioeconomic well-being for all?

(a) Embrace a universal or zero target approach for all minimum core economic and social rights obligations, such as nutritionally adequate and safe food to ensure all people’s freedom from hunger, free primary education, essential primary healthcare, and a basic essential level of safe water.

(b) Guarantee a quality social protection floor for all, in line with human rights and ILO recommendation 202.

Test 8: Ensure that any global partnerships for sustainable development are aligned with human rights? 

(a) Ensure human rights-guided policy coherence, with governments and international financial institutions mandated to conduct independent and periodic public assessments of the human rights and sustainable development cross-border impacts of their policies and agreements, particularly those related to trade, investment, aid, tax, migration, intellectual property, debt, monetary policies and financial regulation.

(b) Include clear, time-bound commitments for all actors in development, including high-income countries, international institutions and large businesses.

(c) Develop a robust, multi-faceted global monitoring and accountability framework which tracks the compliance and accountability of all development actors to their commitments, including high-income countries, international institutions and large businesses, with full civil society participation and in constructive interaction with the human rights protection regime.


1.    African Sky, The Netherlands
2.    Anthropology Watch, Philippines
3.    Article 19, Global Campaign for Free Expression and Information, UK
4.    APVV UNION, India
5.    Association of NGOs of Aotearoa, New Zealand
6.    Avocats Sans Frontières, Belgium
7.    Blue Veins, Pakistan
8.    Bond, United Kingdom
9.    Burundi Child Rights Coalition, Burundi
10.    Centre For Human Rights And Climate Change Research, Nigeria
11.    Centre for Democracy and Development, Nigeria
12.    Center for Economic and Social Rights, International
13.    Committee to Protect Journalists, USA
14.    Center for Reproductive Rights, International
15.    Center for Women in Governance (CEWIGO), Uganda
16.    Child Rights International Network, UK
17.    CIVICUS, South Africa
18.    Civil society organization network for development (RESOCIDE), Burkina Faso
19.    Coalition for Democracy and Civil Society, Kyrgyzstan
21.    CONCORD Sweden
22.    Concertation Nationale de la Société Civile du Togo (CNSC Togo), Togo
23.    Cosader Cameroun, Cameroon
24.    Democracy Monitor, Azerbaijan
25.    Ebony Youth and Orphans Support Initiative Kenya, Kenya
26.    Egyptian Center for Economic and Social Rights, Egypt
27.    Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, Egypt
28.    Equidad de Genero: Ciudadania, Trabajo y Familia, Mexico
29.    Feminist Task Force, International
30.    Femlink Pacific, Fiji
31.    FEMNET (African Women's Development & Communication Network), Kenya
32.    FODEP, Zambia
33.    Forum Human Rights Germany, Germany
34.    Forum for Women in Democracy (FOWODE), Uganda
35.    Foundation for Human Rights Initiative (FHRI), Uganda
36.    Four Freedoms Forum, USA
37.    Freedom Forum, Nepal
38.    Front Line Defenders, Ireland
39.    Fundación CONSTRUIR, Bolivia
40.    Gesr Centre for Development, Sudan
41.    Global Call to Action Against Poverty - Philippines
42.    Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, USA/Switzerland
43.    Global Partnership[ for Local Action (GP4LA), Austria
44.    Global Partnership for the Prevention of Armed Conflict, International
45.    Good Shepherd International Justice Peace Office, USA
46.    Habitat International Coalition (HIC), Egypt
47.    Hawai'i Institute for Human Rights, USA
48.    Human Dignity, France
49.    Human Rights Watch Kenya
50.    IBON International, Philippines
51.    Ipas, Brazil
52.    Isis-Women's International Cross Cultural Exchange (Isis-WICCE), Uganda
53.    Jahon, Tajikistan
54.    Labour,Health and Human Rights Development Centre, Nigeria
55.    Law Life Culture, Bangladesh
56.    Legal Aid of Cambodia, Cambodia
57.    Ligue des Droits de la personne dans la region des Grands Lacs (LDGL), Rwanda, Burundi and DR Congo
58.    Maison de la Societe Cvile (MdSC), Benin
59.    Masculinity Institute – MAIN, Kenya
60.    Minority Rights Group International, UK, Uganda, Hungary
61.    Nansen Dialogue Centre Serbia, Serbia
62.    National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Sri Lanka
63.    NDC Montenegro, Montenegro
64.    NGO Federation of Nepal, Nepal
65.    North-West University, South Africa
66.    Oceania Human Rights, USA
67.    Odhikar, Bangladesh
68.    Oman Group for Human Rights, Oman
69.    Pakistan NGOs Forum, Pakistan
70.    PDHRE, People's Movement for Human Rights Learning, USA
71.    Peace Movement Aotearoa, New Zealand
72.    Philippine Rural Reconstruction Movement, Philippines
73.    Plataforma de ONG de Accion Social, Spain
74.    Population Matters, UK
75.    Reseau Des Associations Et Groupements Des Femmes Handicapées Du Tchad (RAGFHT), Chad
76.    RESURJ, International
77.    Right Defenders Pakistan, Pakistan
78.    Sanayee Development Organization, Afghanistan
79.    SERR, United States
80.    SIGLO XXIII, El Salvador
81.    SocialTIC A.C., Mexico
82.    Socio-Economic Rights Institute of South Africa (SERI), South Africa
83.    Social Watch, Uruguay
84.    Solidar, Belgium
85.    Solidarite Des Femmes Burundaises Pour Lutter Contre Le Sida Et Le Paludisme Au Burundi, Burundi
86.    South Sudan Society for Democracy in Action, South Sudan
87.    Sudan Democracy First Group (SDFG), Uganda
88.    Terre Des Jeunes Du Burundi, Burundi
89.    Thai Committee for Refugees Foundation (TCR), Thailand
90.    Think Centre    Singapore
91.    Treatment Advocacy and Literacy Campaign (TALC), Zambia
92.    Twerwaneho Listeners Club, Uganda
93.    Uganda National NGO Forum, Uganda
94.    Union de Jeunes pour la Paix et le Développement, Burundi
95.    Union Of Palestinian Women's Committees, Palestine
96.    United Methodist Church--General Board of Church and Society, US/International
97.    Unitarian Universalist Congregation, USA
98.    University of Antwerp, Research Group on Law and Development, Belgium
99.    West Africa Network for Peacebuilding in Côte d'Ivoire (WANEP-CI), Ivory Coast
100.    Women's Advocacy and Communication Network (WANET), Cameroon
101.    Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom
102.    Voluntary Action Network India, India
103.    Young Women's Leadership Institute, Kenya
104.    Zi Teng, Hong Kong