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Human Rights and MDGs in Practice

Governments that pursue development hand-in-hand with human rights stand a better chance of reaching the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs). A new publication by the United Nations Human Rights office (OHCHR) shows what this entails in practice.

Goal 2 of the MDGs: Achieve universal primary education © G. Cabrera/ ILOWith only five years left until the 2015 deadline to achieve the MDGs, preparations are in full gear for a United Nations summit in New York on 20-22 September to accelerate progress towards these goals.

The timely OHCHR publication, entitled “Human Rights and Millennium Development Goals in Practice: A review of country strategies and reporting”, contributes to the ongoing debates and assessment by providing concrete examples of how human rights contribute to development.

It analyses recent national MDG progress reports and pertinent national development strategy documents of Bangladesh, Cambodia, Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Kenya, the Lao People’s Democratic Republic, Liberia, Nepal, South Africa, Thailand, Uganda, Viet Nam and Zambia.

In Bangladesh, for example, the National Water Policy of 1998 and the National Sanita­tion Strategy of 2005 recognized water and sanitation as human rights, and set targets for universal access to safe drinking water and sanitation to be achieved by 2011 and 2013 respectively.

The Government has officially adopted the Community-Led Total Sani­tation approach, which was developed by the Village Education Resource Centre and WaterAid, and has been credited with raising awareness about the importance of sanitation and helping to eliminate open defecation.

It is one of the many examples in the publication that show human rights and key human rights principles of non-discrimination, participation and accountability are complementary, and indispensable indeed, in the pursuit of development and MDGs.

25 August 2010