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Abong assina: Human Rights for All Post-2015

16/12/2013

Human rights have surged to the forefront of the debate about whatwill succeed the Millennium Development Goals in 2015. As humanrights and social justice organizations worldwide, we feel compelledto lay out some of the baseline implications of embedding humanrights into the core of the sustainable development agenda this timearound.

 

At its essence, a post-2015 framework anchored in human rightsmoves from a model of charity to one of justice, based on the inherentdignity of people as human rights-holders, domestic governments asprimary duty-bearers, and all development actors sharing commonbut differentiated responsibilities. Accordingly, the post-2015framework should be designed as a tool to empower and enablepeople—individually and collectively—to monitor and hold theirgovernments, other governments, businesses, internationalinstitutions and other development actors to account for their conductas it affects people’s lives within and beyond borders. A sustainabledevelopment framework founded in human rights can serve as aninstrument for people and countries to help unseat thestructural obstacles to sustainable, inclusive and justdevelopment, prevent conflict and stimulate implementation andenforcement of all human rights—civil, political, economic, socialand cultural rights, the right to development, and to a healthyenvironment.

 

If it is going to incentivize progress while also preventing backslidingand violations, human rights principles and standards must gobeyond the rhetorical, and have real operational significance this timearound. Among other things, anchoring the post-2015 agenda inhuman rights for current and future generations implies that theframework:

 

1. Upholds all human rights for all. The framework shouldstimulate improved human rights process and outcomes for allpeople, especially the most vulnerable, in all countries globalNorth and global South. Along with economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, any successor framework must include commitmentsto protect freedom of association, expression, assembly and political participation ifit is to ensure an enabling environment for an empowered civil society, and protecthuman rights defenders, including women human rights defenders, as central agentstranslating international political commitments into lived realities.

 

2. Stimulates transparency and genuine participation in decision-making at all levels,throughout all policies including budget, financial, and tax policies. Access to informationand meaningful and effective participation are not only fundamental human rights, but willalso be critical to developing, implementing, and monitoring an effective and responsivepost-2015 framework.

 

3. Integrates meaningful institutions and systems to ensure human rightsaccountability of all development actors. Lofty aspirations for a post-2015 agenda willsurely fail if proper citizen-led systems of monitoring and human rights accountabilityare not built into the very DNA of the framework, with clear and time-bound commitments ofall relevant actors. While states must remain the primary duty-holder in development, alldevelopment actors, including third-party states, the private sector and internationalfinancial institutions should be made responsive and accountable for achieving and notundermining global goals. Integrating substantive human rights criteria into assessments ofprogress towards development goals and commitments means monitoring both thepolicy and budgetary efforts of governments alongside development outcomes. Anypost-2015 monitoring mechanism should complement and reinforce the Universal PeriodicReview process for all states. A framework for ensuring accountability would benefit fromconstructive interaction with the existing human rights protection regime, as well asother relevant accountability mechanisms. In this context, we call for an accountabilityframework with binding commitments, supported by effective monitoring and enforcementmechanisms, to be agreed at the global level. This framework should reaffirm the spirit ofthe 1986 Declaration on the Right to Development and it should be based on threefundamental principles: mutual accountability (donors and partners are equallyaccountable for development progress); democratic ownership of partner countries(alignment of donor countries to policy objectives set by developing countries, throughinclusive and democratic processes); and inclusive partnerships (participation of differentvarieties of development stakeholders, State and non-State actors).

 

4. Is backed by national mechanisms of accountability, such as judiciaries, parliaments,national human rights institutions, reinforced by regional and international human rightsmechanisms such as the treaty bodies and the Universal Periodic Review mechanism, soas to ensure the implementation of the post-2015 commitments. The post-2015development agenda is well-placed to encourage governments to improve access tojustice for people living currently in poverty by monitoring measures to eradicateexisting barriers.

 

5. Ensures that the private sector, at the very least, does no harm. The post-2015framework must reflect current international consensus that governments have a duty toprotect human rights through the proper oversight and regulation of private actors,especially of business and private financial actors, to guarantee in practice that theyrespect human rights and the environment, including in their cross-border activities.At the very least, no governments should allow their territory to be used for illegal orcriminal activities elsewhere, such as tax evasion, depositing assets obtained through corruption, environmental crimes or involvement in human rights violations, no matter theperpetrator.

 

6. Eliminates all forms of discrimination and diminishes inequalities, includingsocioeconomic inequalities. Human rights can only be realised within socio-economicand environmental boundaries if we also reduce inequalities of wealth, power andresources. Governments have a particular obligation under human rights law to protect therights of the most marginalized and excluded, and to take additional measures to ensurethat they enjoy their rights on an equal basis with others. Protecting decent work, anddiminishing unfair wage disparities is also fundamental to reducing socio-economicinequality, as is reforming tax and fiscal policy and promoting human rightsalternatives to austerity nationally and globally to unleash the resources necessary tofinance human rights fulfillment. The timely collection and disaggregation of data on thebasis of various grounds of compound discrimination is essential to identify, make visibleand respond to inequalities and violations of human rights and to increase accountability. Ata national level, data should be collected and disaggregated based on country-relevantfactors as defined by rights-holders.

 

7. Specifically and comprehensively supports women's rights. Addressing genderbasedviolence, guaranteeing sexual and reproductive rights, ensuring women’s rightsto and control over land, property and productive resources and their economicindependence, recognizing the care economy and ensuring women’s rights to socialprotection and the equal distribution of paid and unpaid work, and their rights toparticipation in decision-making are critical, not only to realize women's human rightsand achieve gender equality, but for enabling women’s full and active participation ineconomic, political and social life.

 

8. Enables the currently disadvantaged and commonly discriminated against andexcluded groups to be effective agents of their own development by drawing on theprovisions of human rights standards aimed at eliminating discrimination on grounds suchas race, disability, migrant or indigenous status, age, sexual orientation, gender identity,etc.

 

9. Upholds the legal obligation to fulfill the minimum essential levels of economic,social, and cultural rights, without retrogression. This would imply a focus onuniversal or “zero” targets, such as the provision of comprehensive social protectionfloors, universal health coverage, minimum food security guarantees, and other floorsbelow which no one anywhere will be allowed to fall.

 

10. Tackles structural drivers of inequality, poverty and ecological devastation at theglobal level. A genuine and balanced global partnership then would enable people andinstitutions to monitor the common but differentiated responsibilities of all actors toeliminate rather than perpetuate these global obstacles. To be good-faith partners then,governments, business and international institutions must assess the human rightsimpact beyond their borders of their policies and agreements in areas such ascorporate accountability, environment, trade, investment, aid, tax, migration,intellectual property, debt, weapons trade and military cooperation, monetarypolicies and financial regulation. Existing human rights norms can provide a common setof standards and useful yardstick to assess policy coherence for sustainable development.At a time of great uncertainty, multiple crises and increasing insecurity and conflict, let us not foundthe 21st century sustainable development framework on 'bracketed rights’ and broken promises,but instead on a bold reaffirmation of human rights for all.

 

 

Saiba outras organizações assinam a nota: http://www.abong.org.br/final/download/statementhumanrights.pdf

 

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