Stand Up for Human Rights in Development


As we celebrate both the 30th anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development (December 4th) and Human Rights Day (December 10th), civil society groups around the world are calling on development finance institutions, governments, and businesses to take 3 Steps to Stand up for Human Rights in Development.

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During the month of December, help us send this message to governments, financial institutions and businesses by sharing the “3 Steps” with your networks and on social media, and tagging relevant decisionmakers. You can find communications tools here and more information here. Share this page:


3 Steps to Stand Up for Human Rights in Development

December 2016

On the anniversary of the United Nations Declaration on the Right to Development and the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, we join with communities and civil society groups around the world to call upon development finance institutions, governments, and businesses to stand up for human rights.

Respect for human rights is essential for development. The Declaration on the Right to Development recognizes that States have a duty in both their national policymaking and their international development cooperation to promote universal respect for human rights, and development which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of all. The Declaration affirms that the right to development is predicated on active, free and meaningful participation in development, and in equality of opportunity and the fair distribution of benefits without discrimination. The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights further highlight the requirement that companies and States, including when acting through multilateral financial institutions, undertake human rights due diligence to ensure their investments respect human rights.

Unfortunately, today we continue to see investments in the name of development that do not meet the needs or respect the human rights of poor or marginalized communities. We see a shrinking space for civil society where communities are left out of critical development decisions and their participation is curtailed as countries enact laws restricting fundamental freedoms. We see an environment where human rights defenders who speak out about development proposals find themselves labeled as “anti-development” and subjected to threats, intimidation, detention, and violent attacks.

As we celebrate Human Rights Day, we reaffirm the fundamental proposition of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights – that each one of us is entitled to the full range of human rights, and that it is everyone’s responsibility to uphold them.

We call upon all development financiers to Stand up for Human Rights by taking the following steps:

1) Promote Rights-Respecting Development. Adopt a policy commitment to respect human rights and implement due diligence to prevent human rights violations.
2) Protect Civil Society Participation. Ensure meaningful participation in development processes and promote an enabling environment for civil society.  

3) Defend the Defenders. Adopt a zero-tolerance policy on attacks against human rights defenders and enact protocols to prevent and respond to such attacks.

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Coalition for Human Rights in Development, International
The Bretton Woods Project, United Kingdom
Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Asia
Christian Development Alternative  (CDA), Bangladesh
Institut de Recherche en Droits Humains (IRDH), Democratic Republic of Congo
Public Interest Law Center (PILC), Chad
Amnesty International, International
Equitable Cambodia, Cambodia
Business and Welfare Initiatives Limited, Bangladesh
Amnesty International Greece, Greece
Counter Balance, Czech Republic
Maryknoll Office for Global Concerns, United States
Inclusive Development International, United States
Association Camerounais pour la Défense des Droits de l’Homme des Libertés et du Bien Etre, Cameroon
MANAB, India
Project on Organizing, Development, Education and Research (PODER), Mexico and Regional
Peace Brigades International Belgium, Belgium
Fundar, Mexico
ACTION PAYSANNE CONTRE LA FAIM, Democratic Republic of Congo
Conseil Régional des Organisations Non Gouvernementales de développement, Democratic Republic of Congo
Both ENDS, The Netherlands
Actions pour les Droits, l’Environnement et la Vie  , ADEV, Democratic Republic of Congo
Zomi Human Rights Foundation, India
Right to Education Project, UK
Rencontee Africaine de Défense des Droits de l’Homme, Senegal
Réseau Camerounais des Organisations des Droits de l’Homme (RECODH), Cameroon
Meghalaya Peoples Human Rights Council (MPHRC), India
coalition des organisations de la société civile pour le suivi des reformes et de l’action publique, Democratic Republic of Congo
Katribu, Philippines
Centre National D’appui au Developpement et a la Participation Populaire, CENADEP, Democratic Republic of Congo
CREDDHO, Democratic Republic of Congo
Protection International, International
SOMO, The Netherlands
Global Witness, International
Friars Studio, United States
Jamaa Resource Initiatives, Kenya
FIDH, International
Community Empowerment and Social Justice (CEmSoJ) Foundation, Nepal
Observatoire d’etudes et d’appui a la responsabilite sociale et environnementale ( OEARSE ), Democratic Republic of Congo
International Accountability Project, International
Foundation for the Conservation of the Earth (FOCONE), Nigeria
ENDA lead Afrique Francophone, Senegal
Frontline Defenders, International
Center for international Environmental Law, International
CEE Bankwatch, International
Lumière Synergie pour le Développement, Senegal
Alyansa Tigil Mina, Philippines
Kalikasan Peoples Network for the Environment, Philippines
MiningWatch Canada, Canada
Green Alternative, Georgia
Human Rights Watch, International
Amazon Conservation Team, International
Accountability Counsel, International
Kairos Center for Transformation and Development, Philippines
Forest Peoples Programme, International (United Kingdom)
GoAcT: Governance & social Accountability Tunisia, Tunisia
Impact Journey, Netherlands
European Coalition for Corporate Justice, Europe
Odisha Forum for Social Action, India
Bank Information Center, United States
Fundación para el Desarrollo de Políticas Sustentables (FUNDEPS), Argentina
National Campaign for DNT Human Rights (NCDNTHR), India
KATRIBU Kalipunan ng Katutubong Mamamayan ng Pilipinas, Philippines
Civil Society Forum on Human Rights, India
Kigumo Environmental Upgrading and Health Promotion, Kenya
GUNEID Sugar Company, Republic of Sudan
Narasha Community Development Group, Kenya
Social Justice Connection, Canada