We live in challenging times. Across the globe, millions are suffering the merciless, often devastating, effects of the many global crises of our age. The global financial and economic crisis, the food crisis, the energy crisis and the climate crisis have converged in a multi-front assault on human dignity. And our institutions of governance, at both the global and national levels, have been at best negligent, and at times complicit, in this onslaught. As a result, in both North and South, the opening years of the twenty-first century have been marked by growing poverty, inequality, hunger, desperation and social unrest.
This was not the vision of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights that gave birth in 1948 to the modern international human rights movement, promising freedom from fear and want, and declaring that “everyone is entitled to a social and international order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in [the] Declaration can be fully realized”.
And it was not the vision of the Declaration on the Right to Development, the twenty-fifth anniversary of which OHCHR’s publication Realizing the Right to Development: Essays in Commemoration of 25 Years of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development commemorates.
Since the adoption of that landmark document, a debate has been raging in the halls of the United Nations and beyond. On one side, proponents of the right to development assert its relevance (or even primacy) and, on the other, sceptics (and rejectionists) relegate this right to secondary importance, or even deny its very existence. Unfortunately, while generating plenty of academic interest and stimulating political theatre, that debate has done little to free the right to development from the conceptual mud and political quicksand in which it has been mired all these years. Read more ....
Navi Pillay, High Commissioner for Human Rights
(Foreword to OHCHR’s publication Realizing the Right to Development: Essays in Commemoration of 25 Years of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development)