The Declaration on the Right to Development as a First Step towards a Comprehensive Southern Vision on Human Rights - Group A - Humanrights

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The Declaration on the Right to Development as a First Step towards a Comprehensive Southern Vision on Human Rights
December 02,2016   By:chinahumanrights.org
The Declaration on the Right to Development as a First Step towards a Comprehensive Southern Vision on Human Rights
 
Tom ZWART 
 
NETHERLANDS
 
By adopting the Declaration on the Right to Development on 4 December 1986 the UN General Assembly officially recognised the right to development as a human right. Since I had been personally involved in the campaign to promote the right to development at the international level by assisting in organising a high level conference in The Hague, and by lobbying the government of The Netherlands to cast its vote in favour of the Declaration, its adoption was a true highlight.
 
The adoption of the Declaration does not only mark the official recognition of the right to development, but it can also be regarded as the first successful joint action undertaken by the Global South at the international level in the area of human rights. Thus, the right to development as such was conceptualised by a prominent Southern scholar, named Kéba M'baye. The drafting and the adoption of the Declaration itself was the fruit of constructive cooperation between Southern states located on different continents. As a result of their coordinated efforts and their numerical majority they were even able to overcome Northern opposition to the document, with the US remaining the sole dissenter. The reference to the rights of 'peoples' in the Declaration in particular exemplifies the preponderance of Southern philosophy and intellectual input during the drafting process. Therefore, the document served as a challenge to and a repudiation of the individual-centred orientation of Northern liberal modernism. 
 
This paper makes the point that the time is right to again join Southern forces in the area of human rights to produce another document, this time to lay out a comprehensive Southern vision on human rights. The success of the adoption of the Declaration on the Right to Development can serve as a source of inspiration. Section 2 will explain why there is a need for such a vision. Section 3 will indentify some aspects of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (hereafter: UDHR) which can serve as support for such a vision. Section 4 will tentatively identify elements which could be included in such a document. Section 5 contains some concluding observations. 
 
In this paper a distinction is being made between the North, which consists of Europe and the U.S., and the South, which comprises Asia, Africa and Latin America.