The advancement of human rights, conflict resolution...
This section brings together our guidance, reports, key decisions and other resources that could help trustees understand the scope of ‘the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity’.
What is meant by ‘the advancement of human rights, conflict resolution or reconciliation or the promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity’?
1. Guidance on the various ways in which a charity may promote human rights can be found in our separate publication The Promotion of Human Rights (RR12). That guidance clarifies the extent to which charities can promote human rights in countries whose domestic law provides little or no protection for such rights.
2. The advancement of conflict resolution or reconciliation includes the resolution of international conflicts and relieving the suffering, poverty and distress arising through conflict on a national or international scale by identifying the causes of the conflict and seeking to resolve such conflict. It includes the promotion of restorative justice, where all the parties with a stake in a particular conflict or offence come together to resolve collectively how to deal with its aftermath and its implications for the future. It also includes purposes directed towards mediation, conciliation or reconciliation as between persons, organisations, authorities or groups involved or likely to become involved in dispute or inter-personal conflict.
3. The promotion of religious or racial harmony or equality and diversity includes a range of charitable activity directed towards actively promoting harmony and the lessening of conflict between people from differing races or religions or belief systems and eliminating discrimination and promoting diversity in society.
4. Examples of the sorts of charities and charitable purposes falling within this description include:
- charities concerned with the promotion of human rights, at home or abroad, such as relieving victims of human rights abuse, raising awareness of human rights issues, securing the enforcement of human rights law;
- charities concerned with the promotion of restorative justice and other forms of conflict resolution or reconciliation;
- charities concerned with the resolution of national or international conflicts;
- mediation charities;
- charities promoting good relations between persons of different racial groups;
- charities promoting equality and diversity by the elimination of discrimination on the grounds of age, sex or sexual orientation;
- charities enabling people of one faith to understand the religious beliefs of others.
Charity Commission guidance
The Promotion of Human Rights (RR12)
This guidance explains why the advancement of human rights is recognised as a charitable purpose. It also considers the various ways (including political campaigning) in which a charity may promote human rights.
The Promotion Of Equality And Diversity For The Benefit Of The Public
This guidance explains the meaning of the promotion of equality and diversity for the public benefit.
Promotion of Religious Harmony
This guidance explains the extent to which the promotion of religious harmony for the public benefit is a charitable purpose.
The Promotion of Social Inclusion
This guidance is for the trustees of existing charities, and anyone thinking of setting up a new charity, who wish to include the promotion of social inclusion as one or more of their charity's aims.
Related decisions of the Commission
Concordis International Trust
Consideration of an application for charitable status by an organisation with objects which included the promotion of national and international conflict resolution and reconciliation. The Commission concluded that the promotion of conflict resolution in a national or international context was capable of being a charitable purpose for the public benefit.
Restorative Justice Consortium Limited (“RJCL”)
Review of a decision concerning an application for charitable status promoting restorative justice whose activities included providing material and holding conferences on restorative justice, developing standards in restorative justice and collating and promoting research into it. As public benefit was not evident, extraneous material about the organisation’s activities was considered.
The issue of what was meant by restorative justice was considered. They understood it in general terms to mean a process whereby offenders and victims, or other parties with a stake in a conflict or offence, meet to discuss the effect of a crime or other anti social behaviour on themselves and the wider community.
The Commissioners accepted that promotion of restorative justice could be charitable as a new novel charitable purpose, by analogy to the preservation of public order and the prevention of breaches of the peace, the protection of life and property and the promotion of the sound administration of the law. Public benefit was also satisfied.
The Commissioners concluded that the purpose of RJCL was to promote restorative justice for the benefit of the public as a means of resolving conflict and promoting reconciliation by certain means and that those means were capable of doing so. As such its purpose was exclusively charitable.