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Human rights crucial for development

“Development – real development – is about freedom from fear and freedom from want, for all people, without discrimination. Any more narrow analysis, focused entirely on economic growth, or private investment, or governmental structures, is destined to fail,” Craig Mokhiber of the United Nations Human Rights office told the Least developed countries (LDCs) conference in Istanbul.

Craig Mokhiber of the United Nations Human Rights office addresses the Least Developed Countries (LDCs) conference in Istanbul © OHCHR Photo/ Ebru GokceThis is also the message “from civil society, declared in the streets and echoed around the world by new communications technologies and social media,” he added.

There are 48 countries presently classified as LDCs by the United Nations. They are considered the “poorest and weakest segment” of the international community, highly disadvantaged in their development process, and suffer from extreme poverty.

“Our first concern is for the millions of people living in those countries, and for their opportunity to realize their most fundamental human rights and freedoms. Human rights, including the right to development, must therefore be central to the development course envisaged by this conference for the LDCs,” said Mokhiber.

The barriers to LDC development must be overcome, he said. “This means ensuring greater respect for self-determination, more serious efforts to advance disarmament, a global commitment to opposing racism and xenophobia at all levels, embracing a more human rights-compliant response to global migration, and urgent efforts to respond to, stop, and reverse the effects of climate change.” 

Mokhiber pointed out that “development itself is a human right” for everyone. The UN Declaration on the Right to Development, which turns 25 years old this year, defines the right to development as “an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized.”

“In an era of globalization, our actions have implications for people in other parts of the world, and rights and responsibilities of all are interrelated and interdependent,” Mokhiber said, stressing that the human rights principles of accountability, equality, non-discrimination, participation, empowerment and transparency are indispensable for development at both national and international levels.

11 May 2011