54th Human Rights Council Reports

Thematic Report from the Working Group on the Right to Development.

Report on the Human Rights Council 54th Session

11 September 2023 – 13 October 2023

Meeting Date: 20 September 2023


Thematic Report from the Working Group on the Right to Development.

Report from the Working Group:

The working group highlighted the interconnectedness of the right to development within the international community and its mechanisms. They emphasized the importance of remembering that all rights are inherently tied to one another and that the effects of one will no doubt spread to the others. The working group commended the OHCHR's recent efforts and activities towards development but insisted that in securing sustainability there was more work to be done:

  • Condemned the inequal distribution of the Covid-19 vaccine,

  • Addressed the accessibility of intellectual property (IP) and the inherent inequality between developed and developing nations in terms of IP access,

  • Emphasized concern regarding the continued payments of national debts at the expense of medical budgets for developing countries,

  • Implored nations to remember that human rights remain in consideration during negotiations with international financial institutions and vice-versa,

  • Recommended enhancing the cooperation of mechanisms at the international level,

  • Suggested that domestic policies be mainstreamed and built up to match international standards, and

  • Reminded participants that the right to development extends to everyone and influences the implementation of other rights.

Other rights discussed included:

  • Rights of Indigenous Peoples,

  • Right to Work (with a lens considering loss of environment due to climate change),

  • Rights of the Child (with a lens considering Social Protections),

  • Right to Education, and

  • Rights of Migrants and Displaced Persons.

General Debate:

  • Discussed the creation and adoption of a legally binding development mechanism,

  • Called for a collaboration between national and international organizations,

  • Reminded member states of obligations to Sustainable Development Goals,

  • Prescribed monitoring mechanism for measuring levels of development be opened to civil society and international organizations,

  • Indicated the need for a culturally diverse approach to supporting and removing obstacles for response mechanisms,

  • Expressed a need for the reconfiguration of the international financial system and all of its organizations,

  • Recommended a commitment to full decolonization and addressing the aftermath of colonization on a state's infrastructure and international positioning,

  • Recognized the importance of acknowledging insecurity of food and shelter increases as effects of climate change,

  • Acknowledged the necessity of a gendered perspective for the protection and recognition of women's rights in the pursuit of sustainability,

  • Emphasized the need for harm reduction policies surrounding all areas of health,

  • Necessitated full and truthful accountability from all stakeholders,

  • Commented on the need to thoroughly conduct interactive and complimentary discussions at all levels to enhance understanding of rights requirements, and

  • Insisted on the continuation of commitments to obligations and mechanisms as a way to reduce gaps in rights framework.

Country Alignments:

As a result of the overlapping and interacting nature of the right to development, country alignments were hard to distinguish as most found themselves agreeing on one part or another. Notable interactions are as follows:

  • Armenia and Azerbaijan:

    • Accusations of human rights violations were lobbied against both sides,

    • Claims of geopolitical maneuvering of international mechanisms were called out by both delegations, and

    • Initiated entire right of reply speaking time to address damage to right to development caused by on-going hostilities.

  • Belarus:

    • Reminded member states that intersectionality is vital to maintaining non-politicized mechanisms, and

    • Accused western states of relying on misleading information to justify illegal implementation of mechanisms.

  • China and Zambia:

    • Agreed on the need to incorporate more domestic frameworks for the integration of women with disabilities into society.

  • Israel and the State of Palestine:

    • Discussed the lasting effects of colonialism on human rights mechanisms, and

    • Condemned each other for manipulation of said mechanisms to finance further crimes and atrocities.

Our Analysis:

The primary concern focused on by all actors involved is that of true and unfaltering commitment to ensuring that development can evolve how it is supposed to. The insistence on a legally binding mechanism echoes this insistence on commitment by member states. Every sector saw a significant benefit to the maintenance of these obligations, but there was a suggestion for adapting these to match the necessary requirements of the current global order. The inclusion of a discussion on the need to acknowledge the threat of international financial institutions to development due to unbalanced financial plans for countries in the vulnerable stages of development created a vital awareness amongst attendees. Notably the reminder of the devastating effects of colonialism to the right to development was only briefly addressed, though it remains a significant and dangerous threat. The dialogue continually referenced the need to address every Sustainable Development Goal in order to fully obtain the necessary status and that some SDGs are not being addressed to the adequacy of international, regional, and national standards.

Authors: Eileen Vis and Mohammad Anas

Uploaded: October 19th 2023


Cultural Diversity and Sustainable Development for Peace