HRC 52 - Statement to the Full-Day High-Level Meeting on the Right to Development

Published on February 28, 2023

52nd Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Full-Day High-Level Meeting on the Right to Development

28 February 2023


Thank you, President


Action Canada makes this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative,

We welcome this high-level meeting on the Right to Development and the Council’s continued efforts to provide opportunities for discussion, learning and exchange on this underappreciated human right. 

We urge states, primarily global north states, to engage in the substantive elements of the Right to Development. The vast majority of UN states did not have a meaningful role in crafting the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, and subsequent treaties were negotiated among a backdrop of colonialism, racial segregation, cold war geopolitics and institutionalised gender-based discrimination and violence at all levels. This historical context is directly related to the grossly unequal distribution of resources that persists today and to perpetuating a false hierarchy of civil and political rights over economic, social and cultural rights. 

We cannot ignore that the geopolitical blocs that resist engaging with the Right to Development are the same blocs that benefit enormously from the past and present unequal distribution of global resources. As explicitly set out in the Vienna Declaration and Programme for Action, we reaffirm that the Right to Development is a universal and inalienable human right. We are under no illusions that the Right to Development efforts are without flaws, but no more so than all other international human rights mechanisms.  The unique elements of the Right to Development, such as recognition of collective rights and responsibilities, naming the massive and flagrant violations of human rights of people subjected to colonialism and an insistence upon accountability for international development policies, must be understood as an asset to the human rights framework that aims to reflect the realities of global south states. 

I thank you