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This paper is part of set of 12 in a series drawing on Oxfam GB’s global programme of work on the theme of ‘the right to be heard’. The focus of this series of papers is on how the right to be heard can strengthen the participation of people in poverty in formulating public policy, and enable them to hold decision-makers accountable. The other Oxfam themes are the right to a sustainable livelihood, the right to basic services, the right to life and security, and the right to equity. Together, these themes provide an integrated rights-based approach to Oxfam GB’s core purpose of overcoming poverty and suffering. The right to be heard is about the right to be an active participant in political processes; it is about being able to speak up and be listened to by those in power. Put a different way, it is about enabling people to actively draw on their civil and political rights to achieve their social, economic, and cultural rights. It is about finding ways to ensure that governance structures are responsive to the needs and wishes of poor people. These papers touch on some elements of how this can be achieved.

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