51st Human Rights Council Reports

Special Report on Right to Development (Expert Mechanism)


September 16th, 2022: Expert Mechanism on The right to development

Interactive dialogue with the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development, established pursuant to resolution 42/23:

Agenda Item 3: Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Chair of the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development

The Expert Mechanism has endeavored to elaborate commentaries on the articles of the Declaration on the Right to Development. The objective is to promote an evolutionary interpretation of the articles considering developments in international law, policy and practice since the adoption of the Declaration in 1986.

In 2021, the Expert Mechanism submitted to this Council its first thematic study which addressed the theme of "Operationalizing the right to development in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals." While the second thematic of the study, addresses "Racism, racial discrimination and the right to development".

The study examines racism and racial discrimination as barriers to the operationalization of the right to development in the context of State obligations, international cooperation and global partnerships. It highlights the negative effects of racism at both the national and international level, including the fracture of the national social cohesion, which affect the well-being of racialized groups by denying them equitable access to social services, economic opportunities, justice, safety and security. At the international level, the study identifies that racism and racial discrimination can result in the loss of transnational economic opportunities for individuals and of foreign direct investment and relief from debt for developing countries.

Finally, the study provides a number of recommendations for Governments, civil society organizations, international organizations, members of the media, private sector organizations and development agencies in the areas of health, housing, employment, education, policing and justice, international cooperation, financing for development, as well as measurement and accountability.

The expert hopes that this study will contribute to the deliberations of this Council and advance the right to development and the issue of racism as an "intersection of marginality" and that it will help to address racial discrimination and the obstacles it poses to social and economic development worldwide.


Achieving sustainable and inclusive development is among the EU's political and policy priorities. The full enjoyment of all human rights, be they civil, cultural, economic, political, or social, and all fundamental freedoms, by all, is a precondition for inclusive and sustainable development.

Any discussion on the right to development must start from the following assumptions: the right to development is rooted in the universal, indivisible, interrelated, and interdependent nature of all human rights, and individuals are right holders and the central actors, drivers, and beneficiaries of the development process. States have the primary responsibility for the full realisation of human rights.

Furthermore, the EU and its Member States would like to reiterate unwavering commitment to fighting racism and racial discrimination. The EU Anti-Racism Action Plan 2020-2025 sets out a series of measures to step up action and to bring together actors at all levels to address racism more effectively in the EU.

However, many persons in vulnerable situations, including from racial and ethnic minorities, disproportionately face barriers to housing access and security.


As regards the impact of COVID-19 pandemic on racism and racial discrimination, highlighted in the report, India believes that realisation of the Agenda 2030 - Sustainable Development Goals is essential to achieve 'a world of universal respect based on equality and non-discrimination'.

To foster inclusive development and guarantee the respect for human rights in situations of growing mistrust and hatred climate, the framework of Durban Declaration and Programme of Action needs to be implemented in true letter and spirit.


Cuba urged the Mechanism to develop the proposed thematic studies, with an integrating vision, always from the perspective of the realization of the right to development, and in close cooperation with the pertinent special procedures and other specialized entities. Cuba emphasizes the importance of maintaining consultations with relevant civil society organizations, some of which have decades of experience and make important contributions from different spheres and bodies to the human rights agenda and, in particular, to the right to development.


The delegation affirmed the positive role played by the Expert Mechanism in implementing the right to development at the global level, and welcomed the thematic studies carried out by the Mechanism with a view to removing obstacles to the implementation of the right to development.

In conclusion, the delegation affirmed that the right to development is a fundamental and inalienable human right, and in this context Iraq calls for the activation of the right to development, including through international cooperation as an expression of international solidarity that is indispensable in order to face challenges of a global nature .


Venezuela appreciates the approach in the report of the Expert Mechanism, of the tremendous impact of unilateral coercive measures and the so-called "secondary sanctions", which prevent people and companies from cooperating and trading, which has serious consequences on other more basic human rights. such as education, food and health, and has hindered States' access to credit to deal with emergency situations, such as the COVID-19 pandemic.

Venezuela will continue to resolutely support any initiative for the realization of the right to development as an inalienable human right and a central element in the struggle of the peoples of the South for well-being and social justice, towards overcoming poverty and inequalities.

South Africa

2021 marked the 20th anniversary of the Durban Declaration and Programme of Action (DDPA), which highlighted the negative economic, social, and cultural consequences of racism, racial discrimination, xenophobia and related intolerance, resolving to free every person from the abject and dehumanizing conditions of extreme poverty and to make the right to development a reality for everyone. The delegation notes with appreciation that the Expert Mechanism in the report recognised the multiple and intersecting forms of discrimination, that racism often intersects with such as discrimination based on ethnicity, gender, country of origin/nationality, religion, and cultural heritage. In conclusion, the delegation shares the views of the Expert Mechanism that to combat prejudice in all its forms, attention must be paid to the intersectionality between racism and other forms of prejudice and discrimination for the full enjoyment of all human rights including the right to development.


In the light of the ongoing work within the framework of the Working Group on the Right to Development on the draft of the relevant international legally binding document, Russia considers it necessary that the Expert Mechanism prepare comments on the Declaration on the Right to Development, primarily in terms of defining the term "right to development". At the same time, Russia believes that the "updating" of the provisions of the Declaration should not lead to a revision or imposition on states of a broad interpretation of this document, which is the result of an intergovernmental negotiation process.

Russia also invited the experts to conduct a study on the impact of the legacy of colonialism on the realization of the right to development.


Substantive equality is necessary for the full enjoyment of all human rights, however, compounding inequalities, racism, and racial discrimination as legacies of colonialism continue to obstruct developmental efforts, especially for developing countries. Namibia looks forward to the study on the linkages between the right to development and self determination as it continues to advocate for the right to self-determination for the people of Palestine and Western Sahara.

Finally, Namibia maintains that the legally binding instrument on the right to development is a critical and necessary tool for the full implementation of the right to development, and hopes that the work of the Expert Mechanism can close the perception gap which currently inhibits progress on the LBI.


The delegation underscores that the need for the realization of the Right to Development in the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals and attainment of international peace and security cannot be overemphasized. In this context, it reiterates the importance of international cooperation and concrete multilateral engagements to eliminate all obstacles to the full enjoyment of the right to development by all. It is most unfortunate that the widening inequalities among societies have exacerbated global instability at all levels. Therefore they call for deeper cooperation to combat illicit financial flows and ensure the recovery and unconditional return of illicitly acquired assets to countries of origin.


With regard to the study on racism and racial discrimination, it is clear that this issue is still a fundamental obstacle to participating in the development process and benefiting from its results. Systemic inequities in access to basic services such as education, health and the judiciary have revealed that the racial legacy in some countries is still strongly present in their policies and institutions. These racist ideologies have clear repercussions internationally reflected in unilateralism and seeking to undermine multilateralism while it is most needed to ensure effective COVID-19 response and recovery.


Armenia concurs with the view that all forms of racial discrimination hamper the operationalization of the right to development and that States have the responsibility to eliminate it as a prerequisite for the realization of the right to development.In this regard, the most recent Concluding observations of the CERD Committee on Azerbaijan expressed deep concern on allegations of grave violations by Azerbaijan against Armenian PoWs, killings, torture, arbitrary detention, destruction of houses, schools, heritage, incitement to hatred and racist stereotypes by public figures and officials.This environment of hatred motivated Azerbaijan for a new aggression against sovereign territory of Armenia just several days ago. A number of UN Members States urged Azerbaijan to cease the hostilities.


At the national level, Malaysia has adopted the concept of 'inclusivity' and 'whole-of nation' approach to ensure that no one is left behind in this challenging post pandemic recovery. In the spirit of the 'Malaysian Family', to achieve sustainable economic recovery, while at the same time improving social protection for vulnerable segments of the society, regardless of their race, religion or gender.

While development is a State-led process, the delegation believes that it is necessarily affected by international policies and thus cannot be separated from the global context in which it takes place.


Uganda believes the mandate to assess and share the best practices of development falls short of addressing the undertones of imbalance in development on the globe. Like the report rightly states, the limitations to enjoyment of the right to development have a clear connection with systematic racism that also targets to maintain other States as underdeveloped.

Whereas Uganda supports the work of the expert mechanism, it calls for the need to address the underlying causes of limited or even lack of the right to development in some States, including Africa as a region.


Malawi particularly appreciates the consultations and discussions made with different stakeholders on various thematic issues that affect the right to development. Inequalities have a direct impact on the right to development and the most concerned and affected are developing countries. Malawi therefore welcomes further consultations on the study "Inequalities and the Right to Development" with Member States, international organizations and civil society.

International investment law is key in the right to development and Malawi is looking forward to the final draft of the study.

Malawi has taken note of the suggested themes for future studies and hopes that the results will greatly enrich the operationalization of the right to development.


The delegation reiterates its support to the Expert Mechanism's mandate, as was requested by the Council to pay particular attention to the international dimension of the right to development and how this aspect would make the practical implementation of the right to development effective at the national, regional, and international levels. At international level, failure to strengthen international cooperation and equality of opportunity for all nations in access to investment, technologies, scientific progresses, and financial resources can exacerbate discrimination and inequalities within and among the countries.

Iran endorses the recommendation of the Expert Mechanism that States should make non discrimination, inclusive participation, and equality of opportunity for development cardinal principles in fulfilling their duty to cooperate.


Suriname adheres to equality, non-discrimination, and respect for diversity. The right to development is integral to achieve sustainable development and taking into consideration its 3 dimensions: economic, social, and environmental. Denying that such a right exists or minimizing its scope, means denying a sizable amount of the global population its basic rights. Mobilizing financing, both nationally and internationally to achieve the SDGs, is of great importance. Access to concessional financing remains critical for the realization of the right to development. We would like to ask the mechanism's view regarding the conditions required for the effective application of the Multi-Dimensional Vulnerability Index (MVI) for Small Island Developing States (SIDS) to create an enabling environment for implementing the right to development.


The Algerian delegation considers that the drivers and causes of structural discrimination, which are often rooted in past colonial practices, illegal occupation and apartheid regimes, impede the full and effective enjoyment of the right to development in its social, economic and cultural dimensions.

The delegation also expresses its concern about the spread of racism and structural racial discrimination in light of the COVID-19 pandemic, climate change and existing international conflicts, which have exacerbated deep-rooted inequality and deepened the social and economic exclusion of individuals and societies on the basis of their origin or religion. This is an alarming trend that requires positive and restrictive measures. Finally, the delegation urges this mechanism to ensure the implementation of the right to development as a matter of priority, including the expeditious elaboration of an international instrument on the right to development that is legally binding.


It should be noted that as reaffirmed in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (VDPA), the right to development, as established in the Declaration on the Right to Development, is a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights.

Azerbaijan shared the conviction in this year's thematic report on racism, racial discrimination and the right to development, which states that cultural diversity is a cherished asset for humanity's advancement and welfare. The delegation is of the strong view that promoting multiculturalism in parallel with seeking bonds and building bridges among cultures can play an effective role in fighting the negative trends related to racism that have been raised in the report of the Expert Mechanism. Cultural diversity is the common heritage of humanity and should be recognized and affirmed for the benefit of present and future generations. An environment of tolerance, empathy, mutual understanding and inclusiveness can be established by advocating for and promoting cultural diversity.

Centre Europe-tier monde

The main objective of the right to development is to enable peoples to choose their own development model, corresponding to their needs and aspirations. In this context, control by States, on behalf of their peoples, of their national currency and financial mechanisms is crucial for any development policy that respects the right of these peoples to decide on their future.

In the context of neoliberal globalization and the financialization of the economy, monetary sovereignty is a key instrument for the future of our societies and the realization of all human rights. Through monetary sovereignty, States can give themselves the means to direct the financing systems of their production and services, but also of social protection for their peoples. This is how they can escape their subordination to the vagaries of the financial markets, subject to the service of the dominant elites. This is why the CETIM recommends to the Expert Mechanism on the Right to Development to further integrate monetary issues into its work in order to promote social justice.

China NGO network for international exchanges(CNIE)

China adheres to the implementation of the new development concept, adheres to the people-centered development philosophy, insists that development is for the people, development depends on the people, and the fruits of development are shared by the people. The global development initiative proposed by China has contributed Chinese wisdom to accelerating the implementation of the United Nations 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and is committed to solving a series of problems and challenges in the process of global development, so as to better protect the right to development of people in all countries.

The Joint Implementation of Global Development Initiatives by International Civil Society announced the establishment of the "Project Library of International Civil Society Implementation of Global Development Initiatives" and launched an international civil society poverty reduction cooperation network.

World Barua Organization (WBO)

Right to development under important factors is integrating the right to development in participation and access to information. It is a vital aspect especially for developing states. For states like India participation and access to disaggregated, structured but simple information are essential for ensuring the right to development for all. In India, a participative approach is missing altogether. Ignoring the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, Right of Indigenous Peoples and various other treaties, India has always side-lined its indigenous peoples and their development. As indigenous peoples have their distinct culture and identity, only a participative approach can guarantee realization of the right to development. Northeast States of India have suffered most due to imposed ideals of development and the top-down approach of the centre. Access and availability to information is equally important to encourage participation in development. In states like India with diverse populations, disaggregated information is must for ensuring participation of all in development.

Author: Francesco Steinhauslin

Uploaded: September 20th, 2022


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