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A human rights based approach is about making sure that people’s rights are put at the very centre of policies and practices. The PANEL principles are one way of explaining what this means in practice:
Participation:
• Every person has the right to participate and access information relating to decision processes that affect their lives and well-being. Everyone is entitled to meaningful, active and free participation and in a language which can be understood.
Accountability:
• Those in charge must be held accountable for human rights responsibilities. There must be effective monitoring as well as operational solutions for human right infringements. In order to protect human rights there must be functioning laws, administrative procedures and policies put in place to recompense.
Non-discrimination and equality:
• All people are equal as human beings and are entitled to their rights without discrimination of any kind. Any form of discrimination must be prohibited, prevented and eliminated. People who face significant problems in realising their rights should be prioritised.
• An example of this within practice is to be inclusive. A child with a disability has the same rights as other children within a setting. Providing ramps for wheelchair users, making sure a child with a hearing impairment can see your facial expressions when you are speaking. Learning sign language such as Makaton or British Sign to support children.
Empowerment:
• Everyone should understand their rights. Individuals should have control and the ability to change their own lives, develop their own communities and influence their own goals by participating in the development of policy and practices.
• An example of this within practice would be adults asking the children for feedback about their day, which particular activity they enjoyed the most and how they would change it. This is often carried out at the end of a session during circle time.
Legality:
• The acknowledgement of rights as legally enforceable entitlements under the international and national human rights law.

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