54th session of the Human Rights Council
Item 3: Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development
Wednesday 20 September 2023
Thank you, President.
Action Canada and the Federation make this statement on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative and IWRAW Asia Pacific.
We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s report. We value the call to respect, protect and fulfill the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment, as well as his articulation of self-determination, intersectionality and economic transformation as central to the right to development.
It is because of its transformative potential, its challenge to the status quo and to individualistic, neoliberal conceptions of human rights, that the right to development continues to be contested by powerful states and actors.
As the report notes, the denial of the right to development is rooted in colonial history and in our current neocolonial and neoliberal economic order. Countries that have developed and built their wealth by exploiting peoples and resources must pay reparations for colonialism, slavery, racial discrimination and environmental degradation.
When we talk about debt, let us also talk about the unpaid reparations, current and historical illicit financial flows, and the global tax abuses that benefit Global North countries, corporations, and economic elites across the world.
The material conditions required for gender equality and bodily autonomy can only be achieved through a radical transformation of our economic order, including through tax and debt justice, resource redistribution within and among countries, and ending austerity measures. There can be no gender equality without the right to development, and vice-versa.
We urge this Council to heed the Special Rapporteur’s call to action to reinvigorate the right to development from an intersectional perspective.