Is it possible to realize human rights when resources are limited?

Yes. In many situations the obligations to respect a given right (non-interference) may require more in the way of political will than financial resources. Even for obligations requiring positive action by the State, rapid progress may be possible by using the available funds more efficiently—for example, by scaling down expenditures on unproductive activities and by reducing spending on activities whose benefit goes disproportionately to the privileged groups of society. Some interventions important for human rights, such as tackling corruption, in fact save public money.

In other cases it will be impossible to realize human rights without more funding. This is true for all human rights—economic, civil, social, cultural or political. Depending on the starting point, working towards an accessible and effective justice system may be just as costly as realizing certain socio-economic rights such as safeguarding against forced evictions or guaranteeing the right to form trade unions. Setting in place the systems needed for free and fair elections can be a major draw on the public purse.


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