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2002 | 58th Regular Session of the UN Commission on Human Rights (18 March - 26 April 2002)

Evolving and implementing the human right to development

March 18 – April 26, 2002
Palais des Nations, Geneva

Oral intervention delivered by John Quigley OFM, Director, FI Geneva

Mr. Chairman:

Franciscans International and Dominicans for Justice and Peace believe the right to development is an ongoing process that is operationalised through the promotion, protection and monitoring of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. Being more than the sum of or an umbrella for these rights, RTD provides and reinforces the intent and purpose of those rights. RTD is also a modus operandi of operationalising all human rights.

The personal development of each human being provides the base and motivational force for both covenants. As a universal right, RTD cannot belong to one interest group or geographical segment of the international community. Being inalienable and indivisible, RTD cannot be reduced to discussions about financial assistance nor be confused merely with development projects. Human rights in development is not the same as right to development.

Franciscans International and Dominicans for Justice and Peace note the positive improvement in the deliberations at the recent Open-Ended Working Group on Right to Development. One reason for this progress was the fact that Prof. Sengupta not only delivered a report but also engaged the Working Group for five days providing helpful input and commentary to the participants.

Prof. Sengupta’s Fourth Report is particularly strong, constructive and thought provoking. At the same time, he is adaptable with concrete proposals such as new institutional ways to fund and facilitate the distribution of funding for development.

The Independent Expert is flexible with recommendations for implementing RTD while staunchly maintaining the utmost priority of all human rights. In particular, Franciscans International and Dominicans for Justice and Peace appreciate his uncompromising defence of the standards of equity, non-discrimination, participation, accountability and democracy in the implementation and operationalisation of RTD.

We believe that serious attempts to implement RTD will lead to paradigm shifts resulting in the practical development and transformation of existing institutions and organisations.

A genuine mutual reciprocity among partners can mean a long-term process of empowerment of the poorest and most marginalized. It would be a strong paradigm shift when the rich commit themselves as partners with the impoverished. Mutual reciprocity would describe genuine partnerships rather than negotiated donations that can be unilaterally cut or sharply reduced by the fateful twist of a donor’s national election.

Mr. Chairman, Franciscans International and Dominicans for Justice and Peace:

  1. Believe that national human rights commissions, treaty bodies, and the Working Group can initially monitor the operationalisation of RTD;
  1. Concur with the European Union that the Working Group is a unique mechanism for the discussion of RTD in all of its civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights aspects;
  1. Expect the Working Group will make substantial progress in achieving conceptual clarity of RTD, share the experiences of others and deepen dialogue among stakeholders in the process—such as individuals, NGOs, civil society, nation-States and international organizations—as well as study impact assessments and best case practices;
  1. Remain hopeful that NGO participation will increase during future Working Groups.
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