Human Rights and Social Development: Toward Democratization and Social Justice
by Yash Ghai for UNRISD programme 'Democracy, Governance and Human Rights (2000 - 2005).'
This paper aims to assess progress toward the objectives of the Copenhagen Declaration on Social Development (referred to as “the Declaration”) and Programme of Action by using a human rights strategy. The Declaration seeks to make human rights the framework for policies to achieve the goals of the World Summit for Social Development, held in Copenhagen in 1995. This strategy assumes that the norms and machinery of human rights would inform decisions on development policies. It also assumes that rights would empower social and economic groups hitherto excluded from or disadvantaged in development and entitlements. In particu-lar, it assumes that human rights norms that require and support democracy would provide the basis of political and social stability, and that social and economic rights would eliminate the worst consequences of poverty.
The United Nations Research Institute for Social Development (UNRISD) is an autonomous UN agency engaging in multidisciplinary research on the social dimensions of contemporary problems affecting development. Through its research, UNRISD stimulates dialogue and contributes to policy debates on key issues of social development within and outside the United Nations system.
Democracy, Governance and Human Rights (2000 - 2005)
The global debate on democratization and human rights can be sharpened by paying greater attention to specific problems of political and institutional reform at the local, national and international levels. This programme provided an opportunity to learn from experiences in countries, beset by economic crisis, where efforts are being made to create an enabling environment for democratic governance.