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RIGHT TO DEVELOPMENT: POLITICAL WILL IS URGENTLY NEEDED TO ADDRESS RISING INEQUALITIES

31 October 2013

NEW YORK / GENEVA (31 October 2013) – The Chair of the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group on the right to development, speaking to diplomats in New York, has warned about the dramatic increase of inequalities within and between countries during the unprecedented current global economic and financial crisis.

The surge in inequalities has brought “countless victims, violating their human rights, and threatening the ecosystem upon which life depends,” said Tamara Kunanayakam, who currently chairs the Working Group charged by the United Nations Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the promotion and implementation of the right to development.
 
“We are lacking neither in the means nor in the resources to confront these historical challenges through international cooperation and solidarity. Problems of a global character can only be resolved through collective action,” Ms. Kunanayakam told the United Nations General Assembly during the presentation of the Working Group’s latest report.* “The question is: Is there the political will to do so?”

If any progress is to be made in the realization of the right to development, then social justice and equality, as well as national and international justice, must be given the prominence they deserve in today’s development discourse.

Ms. Kunanayakam urged Governments worldwide to implement the Declaration on the Right to Development, calling it “an instrument that provides a framework for building a human society based on justice, equality, non-discrimination and solidarity.”

The Working Group was established in 1998 by the then Commission on Human Rights to monitor and review progress made in the promotion and implementation of the right to development in the world.

(*) Read the full report: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/RegularSessions/Session24/Documents/A-HRC-24-37_en.pdf

Tamara Kunanayakam (Sri Lanka) took up her functions as Chairperson-Rapporteur of the open-ended intergovernmental Working Group on the Right to Development in 2011. Ms. Kunanayakam has worked as both international and national civil servant, inter alia as Ambassador of Sri Lanka to the United Nations in Geneva. She has also worked for civil society organizations and as independent researcher and is a recognized expert on the right to development. As Chairperson-Rapporteur she serves in her personal capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/Pages/WGRightToDevelopment.aspx or http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/Pages/DevelopmentIndex.aspx

The UN Declaration on the Right to Development: http://www.ohchr.org/Documents/Issues/Development/DeclarationRightDevelopment_en.pdf

For more information and media requests, please contact:
In New York: Nenad Vasic (+1 212 963 5998 / vasic@un.org)
In Geneva: Richard Lapper (+41 22 928 9753 / rlapper@ohchr.org)

The Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights will launch a major publication Realizing the Right to Development: Essays in Commemoration of 25 Years of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development on 4 December in Geneva and on 9 December in New York. This book, which brings together the contributions of more than 30 international experts, constitutes a landmark in OHCHR’s efforts to advance understanding, and ultimately, the realization of the right to development. The launches will bring together eminent experts for an exchange on the theme of “Realizing a vision for transformative development”. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Development/Pages/RealizingaVisionforTransformativeDevelopment.aspx

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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For use of the information media; not an official record

HR13/313E