Our Perspective

      • Where do human rights belong in development?

        14 Jun 2011

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        Women benefiting from a law in India that made the right to work an enforceable right. Photo: UNDP

        While the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) and human rights are often thought of as separate concepts, synergies exist in practice. Human rights approaches seek to address the root causes of development problems. As former Secretary-General Kofi Annan once said, “Human rights can be found at the heart of every major challenge facing humanity.” At the same time, human development embraces the range of social, economic, cultural, and political rights as defined by the international community. Human development is about expanding the choices people have to lead lives which they value, the resources to make those choices meaningful, and the security to ensure that those choices can be exercised in peace. Making these links between the human development approach and human rights instruments and international laws is consistent with the approach set out in the Millennium Declaration. The words of the Millennium Declaration are clear. “We will spare no effort to promote democracy and strengthen the rule of law, as well as respect for all internationally recognized human rights and fundamental freedoms, including the right to development.” Read the full Declaration By signing that document in 2000, Heads of State and Government committed themselves to upholding the Universal Declaration of Human Rights;Read More

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