United Nations

A/53/268


General Assembly

Distr. GENERAL  

17 August 1998

ORIGINAL:
ENGLISH




                                                       A/53/268
       
                                                       Original: English
       

General Assembly       
Fifty-third session
Item 113 (b) of the provisional agenda*
Human rights questions: Human rights questions, 
  including alternative approaches for 
  improving the effective enjoyment of human 
  rights and fundamental freedoms

     * A/53/150.


                           Right to development


                      Report of the Secretary-General


     Introduction


1.   In adopting resolution 52/136 of 12 December 1997,
the General Assembly, inter alia, reaffirmed the importance
of the right to development for every human person and for
all peoples in all countries, in particular the developing
countries, as an integral part of fundamental human rights,
as well as the potential contribution its realization could
make to the full enjoyment of human rights, and
fundamental freedoms.

2.   Noting the need for improved coordination and
cooperation throughout the United Nations system for a
more effective promotion and realization of the right to
development, the General Assembly requested the United
Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, within her
mandate, to continue to take steps for the promotion,
protection and realization of the right to development by,
inter alia, drawing on the expertise of the funds,
programmes and specialized agencies of the United Nations
system related to the field of development.

3.   By resolution 52/136, the General Assembly also
requested the Secretary-General to inform the Commission
on Human Rights at its fifty-fourth  session and the General
Assembly at its fifty-third session of the activities of the
organizations, funds, programmes and specialized agencies
of the United Nations system for the implementation of the
Declaration on the Right to Development, as well as
obstacles identified by them to the realization of the right
to development.

4.   By the same resolution, the General Assembly  called
upon the Commission on Human Rights to continue to make
proposals to the General Assembly, through the Economic
and Social Council, on the future course of action on the
question, in particular on practical measures for the
implementation and enhancement of the Declaration on the
Right to Development, including comprehensive and
effective measures to eliminate obstacles to its
implementation, taking into account the conclusions and
recommendations of the Global Consultation on the
Realization of the Right to Development as a Human Right,
the reports of the Working Group on the Right to
Development and the report of the Intergovernmental Group
of Experts to elaborate a strategy for the implementation
and promotion of the right to development.

5.   In accordance with Commission on Human Rights
resolution 1997/72 of 16 April 1997, the secretariat sent a
note verbale in December 1997, seeking information
relevant to the implementation of the Declaration on the
Right to Development.

6.   At its fifty-fourth session, the Commission on Human
rights had before it the report of the Secretary-General on
the question of the realization of the right to development
(E/CN.4/1998/28 and Add.1), which is made available to
the General Assembly for its consideration at its current
session.


   I.     New developments since the fifty-fourth session of the 
          Commission on Human Rights


        A.     Replies received from Governments


7.   Replies from the Governments of Cuba and Ghana
were received on 18 March 1998 and 28 April 1998,
respectively, in response to the secretariat's note verbale
of December 1997, seeking information relevant to the
implementation of the Declaration. As the Commission was
in session and in view of the established procedures, those
replies could not be issued then.


        1.     Cuba

8.   Basing its reflection on the universality, indivisibility,
interdependence and interrelationship of all human rights,
the Government of Cuba believes that the best way to
protect and promote human rights, in particular in
developing countries, would be to take decisive actions for
the effective realization of the right to development,
perceived not only in terms of growth but also as poverty
eradication.

9.   In this context, it is essential to facilitate the
dissemination of the Declaration on the Right to
Development, encourage its mainstreaming into bilateral
and multilateral programmes of cooperation, and, if
necessary, establish appropriate machinery for an adequate
follow-up of progress made and obstacles encountered in
the implementation of the Declaration.

10.  Special emphasis should be placed on dissemination
within celebrations marking the fiftieth anniversary of the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights; the inclusion of
this Declaration in the International Bill of Human Rights
could be a significant move in expressing the international
community's commitment at the dawn of the twenty-first
century.


        2.     Ghana

11.  In its preliminary views and observations, the
Government of Ghana, while recognizing that the
Declaration on the Right to Development and the
International Bill of Human Rights constitute a milestone
in the construction of a universally accepted human rights
architecture, believes that these instruments need to be
revisited for the following reasons:

               (a)     The definition of "development" is ambiguous
and therefore needs more clarity and precision;

               (b)     The expressions "individually" and
"collectively" should be better defined so as to distinguish
individual and collective rights, as well as States' rights.

12.  The Government of Ghana concludes that the
established machinery should  endeavour to formulate
proposals in ensuring sustainable development, through
effective international cooperation to provide developing
countries with the means and facilities to foster their
development. It is convinced that Governments should
undertake radical economic reforms in terms of the
realization of economic, social and cultural rights of
peoples, as enshrined in the International Bill of Human
Rights and the Declaration.


        B.     Comments from United Nations bodies
               and specialized agencies


        1.     United Nations Development Programme

13.  The United Nations Development Programme (UNDP)
is committed to disseminating human rights and the right
to development to all its entities, based on its policy
document entitled "Integrating Human Rights with
Sustainable Human Development". In this context, the role
of UNDP is the development of a national capacity for the
promotion of human rights through three main focus areas:

               (a)     Governance, which contributes to developing
the national capacity for human rights promotion in
governing institutions and provides support for human
rights institutions in the public and private sectors,
including non-governmental organizations;

               (b)     Human rights mainstreaming in all activities in
the framework of sustainable human development;

               (c)     Human rights advocacy as part of the policy
dialogue with Governments and supporting the follow-up
to the major global conferences organized in the 1990s,
bearing in mind the human rights perspective.

14.  The memorandum of understanding signed between
the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and
UNDP will serve as a catalyst in this process. A joint task
force has been established in Geneva to follow up the
implementation of the memorandum of understanding.


    II.     Status of implementation of the Declaration on 
            the Right to Development


15.  Over the past year, the right to development has
gained recognition as an integral part of human rights and
fundamental freedoms. The indivisible character of human
rights necessitates an integrated approach in the quest for
their realization. Within the Secretariat, this has been
reflected in measures relating to mainstream human rights
in United Nations activities, dealing principally with various
aspects of economic and social rights. The establishment
of the United Nations Development Group, in which the
Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
participates, has been a decisive step towards strengthening
the human rights regime within the United Nations.

16.  The Ad Hoc Working Group on the Right to
Development established within the United Nations
Development Group and chaired by the Office of the High
Commissioner, has the mandate to develop:

               (a)     A common Development Group approach for
enhancing the human rights dimension in development
activities;

               (b)     A matrix outlining specific human rights goals
for the Development Group as a whole as well as for
individual members, including benchmarks and terms of
accountability;

               (c)     A training module, in cooperation with the
Office of the High Commissioner, for Development Group
staff on the right to development and its implications for
development operations.

17.  At its fifty-fourth session, the Commission on Human
Rights decided to submit for the approval of the Economic
and Social Council the appointment of an independent
expert with  a mandate to submit to the Open-ended
Working Group on the Right to Development, at each of its
meetings, a study of the current state of progress in the
implementation of the Declaration on the Right to
Development.

18.  The Office of the High Commissioner identified three
phases in the working group's work:          

               (a)     The Office shares with members of the
Development Group its concept of the right to development
and the manner in which it proposes to fulfil its
responsibility as a catalyst for all related activities;               

               (b)     Members of the Working Group define their
respective fields of activity and agree on the human rights
sector(s) to which they relate;

               (c)     The Working Group agrees on a plan of action
based on selected country examples.

19.  The ad hoc Working Group's first (organizational)
session was held on 27 February 1998 at Headquarters.
With respect to the mandate of the Working Group, it was
decided that it would focus on the United Nations
Development Assistance Framework, and that by September
1998 the Working Group would incorporate the right to
development in the Framework's basic document. In this
process, the Working Group will have to take into account
the international human rights instruments as well as the
follow-up to global conferences that have an impact on the
right to development.

20.  After completion of this first phase, the Working
Group is to address the incorporation of the right to
development in the training of country teams.

21.  In addition to the one signed with UNDP, a
memorandum of understanding has recently been concluded
between the Office of the High Commissioner and the
United Nations Population Fund. Moreover, an ongoing
programme of activities is being pursued with the United
Nations Conference on Trade and Development, the Joint
and Co-Sponsored United Nations Programme on Human
Immunodeficiency Virus/Acquired Immunodeficiency
Syndrome, the Food and Agriculture Organization of the
United Nations, and the United Nations Centre for Human
Settlements, and cooperation with other agencies and
programmes is being explored.

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