A rights-based approach to development sets the achievement of human rights as an objective of development. It uses thinking about human rights as the scaffolding of development policy. It invokes the international apparatus of human rights accountability in support of development action. In all of these, it is concerned not just with civil and political (CP) rights (the right to a trial, not to be tortured), but also with economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights (the right to food, housing, a job). This paper offers an overview of debates around CP and ESC and suggests the concerns of a rights-based approach can be seen to overlap to a considerable extent with the priorities of a poverty reduction or human development approach.