Human rights for all
Published On February 20, 2014 » 1638 Views» By Hildah Lumba » Letters to the Editor
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HUMAN rights have surged to the forefront of the debate about what will help the Millennium Development Goals in 2015 a success.
As human rights and social cultural justice organised worldwide, we feel compelled to lay out some of the baseline implications of embedding human rights into the core the sustainable development agenda this time around.
At its essence, the post of 2015 framework in human rights moves from a model of charity to one of justice, based on the inherent dignity of people as human rights-holders, domestic governments as primary duty bearers, and all development actors sharing common but differentiated responsibilities.
Accordingly, the post 2015 framework should be designed as a tool to empower and enable people monitor and hold their government, businesses, international institutions and other development actors accountable for their conduct as it affects people’s lives within and beyond the borders.
A sustainable development framework founded on human rights can serve as an instrument for people and countries to help unseat the structural obstacles to sustainable, inclusive and just development, and prevent conflict and stimulate implementation and enforcement of all human rights.
The post-2015 framework must then at the very least respect and reflect pre-existing human rights, legal norms, standards and political commitments to which government have already agreed.
International human rights, environmental and humanitarian law, the Millennium Declaration, as well as related international consensus documents agreed in Rio, Vienna, Cairo, Beijing, Monterrey and Copenhagen and their follow-up agreements must form what its non-negotiable normative base.
If it is going to give incentive progress rights principles and standards must go beyond rhetoric and have real operational significance this time around.
Among other things, anchoring the post 2015 agenda in human rights for current and future generations implies that the framework upholds human rights for all.
The framework should stimulate improved human rights process and outcome for all people especially the most vulnerable, in all countries global North and South.
Along with economic, social, cultural and environmental rights, any successor framework must include commitments to protect freedom of association, expression, assembly and political participation of it is to ensure an enabling environment for an empowered civil society.
It should protect human rights defenders, including women as central agents translating international political commitments into lived realities.
Among others, it should be able to stimulate transparency and genuine participation in decision-making at all levels.
At a time great uncertainty, multiple crises and increasing insecurity and conflict, let us not relent in our efforts to push the 21st century sustainable development efforts on bracketed rights and broken promises but instead on a bold reaffirmation of human rights for all.

Dean Mwelwa,
Executive Director
Zambia Asthma Association

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