In the RBCP approach, the means are as important as the ends: the right of low income people to participate in processes and decisions that affect their lives, as individuals and communities, is as important as gaining access to the rights themselves.
The practice of human rights advocacy is linked to law and community organizations. Overall, the premise is that every person holds the same rights. Rights based community practice seeks to ensure the rule of law, increasing access to fundamental rights and entitlements. This requires a process of empowerment; a process whereby persons gain ability to influence relationships and to act independently. These relationships are personal, communal, institutional and political. Appropriate tools of empowerment to each level are essential elements of a model of human rights based practice.
|Level||Disentitlement||Tools of Empowerment|
|Individual||Expressed when people believe, act or feel that they do not deserve equal treatment, that benefits and rights do not apply to them, and that they lack the resources or capacity to stand up for themselves.||Tools and resources are both internal and external. Internally they relate to personal power, self-confidence, trust and identity, which reflect inner strength and personal security. External resources are money, goods and services, legitimacy, information and status.|
|Communal||Occurs when the majority of persons constituting the same reference group do not receive sufficient resources or are excluded from influencing decisions that affect their collective welfare. Disentitled communities are those wherein people are alienated from each other as well as from their institutions. It creates a context that fosters fundamentalism and violence.||Organizing around issues that unite people rather than issues that divide them, developing democratic, autonomous organizations.|
|Institutional||Deals with issues of access and bureaucratic discretion as forms of rationing which limit the availability of resources. People are unable to access entitlements that were made available to them by law. The barriers can be either physical (distance, lack of resources) or psychological, cultural. This state is particularly experienced by the poor, elderly, unemployed, immigrants, etc.||Ensuring access, outreach, and participation in decision-making processes.|
|Political||Occurs in relation to laws and regulations that are discriminatory, contain arbitrary restrictions and privilege certain groups. When people lack opportunities to shape and influence events, to participate in decisions relating to their fundamental welfare, beliefs and aspirations, they become alienated from the society around them.||People become participants in decisions that affect them and are able to influence those decisions.|