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[HRC54 Oral Statement] Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development

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54th regular session of the UN Human Rights Council

Item 3: Interactive Dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development

Oral statement delivered by Urantsooj Gombosuren

On behalf of Asian Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

20 September 2023


Mr. President,

We welcome the Special Rapporteur’s vision to reinvigorate the right to development by prioritising a holistic approach and bridging the political divide with regards to the right to development.

As the Special Rapporteur concludes, the right to development can only be achieved when everyone can participate in, contribute to and exercise their fundamental freedoms without undue restrictions.

There are many intersecting barriers to the realisation of the right to development. FORUM-ASIA’s recent research in six countries in Northeast, Central, Southeast and South Asia shows how solely focusing on economic growth undermines the very tenets of inclusive development, namely meaningful participation, fair distribution, and intergenerational equity, as well as people’s enjoyment of economic, social, cultural, civil, and political rights.

Many states see the realisation of the right to development as a precondition for the enjoyment of other fundamental rights undermining the consensus on the universality, indivisibility, and interdependence of all human rights and use the narrative of development to justify arbitrary restrictions on fundamental freedoms including freedom of expression, assembly and association. 

Civil society and human rights defenders who speak out against harmful consequences of economic development policies that fail to take into account human rights are being routinely targeted with attacks and harassment.

Against this backdrop, can the Special Rapporteur please elaborate how the mandate will address these interconnecting barriers to truly move towards equitable and sustainable development for all?

Thank you.