Human Rights

Statement – 23rd Session Working Group on the Right to Development, 15 – 20 May 2022

South Centre Statement  to the 23rd Session of the Working Group on the Right to Development

15 – 20 May 2022

Although we need to increase the international efforts to effectively realize the RtD, there seems to be insufficient engagement by many countries in the relevant intergovernmental processes. Therefore, it is of utmost importance to encourage and mobilize the participation of all countries in such processes. This Working Group is in a remarkable position to provide a platform for a participatory process that allows for the exchange of views and to build the necessary consensus to move forward.

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Research Paper 149, 8 March 2022

The International Discourse on the Right to Development and the Need to Reinvigorate its Implementation

By Yuefen Li, Daniel Uribe and Danish

The world is currently at an ebb for realizing the Right to Development (RtD). Weakening of multilateralism, de-globalization, the scars left by the COVID-19 pandemic, misinterpretation and dilution of the RtD, and inertia to reform international governance are among the multitude of reasons for this phenomenon. However, the need for a better, more inclusive and greener recovery, and the efforts necessary to attain the 2030 Agenda, have provided the international community an opportunity to reinvigorate the realization of the RtD. These efforts have shown the great relevance of RtD to promote a people-centred and fairer development process and the need for an international enabling environment in order to promote the kind of development we want.

This paper reviews the history of international discourse on RtD including major milestones, main divisive issues between the global South and the North, the evolution of voting patterns on intergovernmental outcomes, existing legal and political issues currently being discussed, the various mechanisms on the RtD, and recommendations on the way forward to revitalize the implementation of RtD at the 35th anniversary of the Declaration on Right to Development.

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Statement – Regional Consultation on Sustainable Development & ICESCR, 8 February 2022

Oral Statement of the South Centre for the Regional Consultation on Sustainable Development and the ICESCR

Geneva, 8 February 2022

The following statement is delivered by the South Centre during the consultation convened by the Drafting Group of the United Nations Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights for the development of a General Comment on Sustainable Development and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights.

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Research Paper 138, October 2021

Beyond Corporate Social Responsibility: Strengthening Human Rights Due Diligence through the Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights

by Daniel Uribe Terán

The discussion on the need for mandatory human rights due diligence (HRDD) requirements has permeated the interests of policy makers, civil society organizations and international organizations. The current trend on the adoption of domestic legislation concerning HRDD standards shows a variety of options and models that might serve as a step forward to the adoption of a strong international framework of corporate accountability and remedy for human rights violations in the context of business activities.

This research paper aims at identifying the elements that characterize human rights due diligence to find a possible common definition for its implementation. It does so through analysing current regional and State practice in the adoption of mandatory HRDD legislation in different sectors. Finally, it will discuss the principles that characterize the approach taken by the United Nations Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group in charge of adopting a Legally Binding Instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises and how it could serve as an important cornerstone for modern rule making on the issue of business and human rights.

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SouthViews No. 229, 25 October 2021

The Post COVID-19 Recovery: A Stringent Test for the Business and Human Rights Discourse

By H.E. Ambassador Luis Benigno Gallegos Chiriboga

Although the global economic outlook seems to be improving for the rest of 2021 and 2022, such benefits seem to only affect developed economies, while furthering the gap with emerging markets and developing economies. This shows that ‘recovery for all’ will remain gloomy for several years, as access to the COVID-19 vaccine continues to showcase the global inequalities between the rich and the poor. In this scenario, States require to make full use of their regulatory and policy space to protect and promote the human rights of all people and persons in their jurisdictions, including the right to health, while safeguarding the necessary fiscal space towards guaranteeing development expenditures to build back fairer and better. It is time for reducing inequalities rather than increasing the gap between developed and developing nations.

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Statement, 25 October 2021

South Centre Statement to the 7th Session of the Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights

The South Centre, as the intergovernmental organization of developing countries, has keenly followed the evolution of the process towards the adoption of a Legally Binding Instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises since its inception and over the various sessions of this Working Group.

We welcome the strengthening of the text of the draft LBI with contributions of State delegations and civil society organisations, particularly from the Global South. The third revised draft of the LBI being discussed this week reflects many of the comments and textual suggestions made in the previous sessions of the Working Group and streamlines the provisions for their effective implementation. The process now moves into a very important phase with State-led direct substantive intergovernmental negotiations and raises hopes for the adoption of the LBI in the near future.

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SouthViews No. 228, 15 October 2021

Carving Out a Role for Human Rights in International Investment Law

by Barnali Choudhury

The public health burdens that have been imposed on governments by Covid-19 serve as an important reminder of the importance for states to be able to regulate public health as well as other human rights issues. Commentators are already describing the myriad of investment arbitration claims that states may expect to face for their acts in handling the Covid-19 crisis. By carving out a role for human rights in international investment law, states can ensure that protection of human dignity, not property interests, will continue to be their ultimate objective.

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SC Webinar, 18 October 2021

Exploring synergies in multilateralism and human rights for a just, fair & equitable recovery from COVID-19

18 October 2021

15:30-17:00 CEST

Facilitated by the South Centre, this webinar is an opportunity for participants to exchange views and discuss how the Legally Binding Instrument on Transitional Corporations and Other Business Enterprises can support States’ efforts in other areas of the multilateral system towards enabling a just, fair, and equitable recovery after the COVID-19 pandemic.

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Statement, September 2021

Statement during the Interactive dialogue with the Special Rapporteur on the right to development

The South Centre, as an intergovernmental organization composed by developing countries, welcomes the Report prepared by the Special Rapporteur on the Right to Development considering Climate Action at the National Level. Read our statement below.

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Contribution to UNSG Report on US Embargo Against Cuba 2021

Contribution of the South Centre to the Report of the Secretary-General on the Implementation of UN General Assembly Resolution A/75/L.97 dated 9 June 2021 on the “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed by the United States of America against Cuba”

This input by the South Centre is prepared in response to the UN Secretary-General’s request as a contribution to the report of the Secretary-General as per resolution A/75/L.97, with respect to the imposition of unilateral economic, financial and trade measures against Cuba, in violation of basic principles of the UN Charter.

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SouthViews No. 226, 3 September 2021

Issues in Financing Education as a Human Right: Central principles for public policy responses

by Kishore Singh

The realization of the right to education requires adequate financing of education. Public policy responses to the need and importance of financing education remain inadequate. And now there is a trend towards decreasing public investment in education. Not only should States shoulder the primary responsibility for education under human rights law, but non-State actors should also invest in education because of corporate social responsibility. Besides, the need and importance of preserving education as a public good and public interest in education should be kept in the forefront as regards multi-stakeholders and provision of education through public-private partnerships. The role devolves upon the parliamentarians in shaping regional and global architecture. In the conclusion, the author proposes ten central principles for a Global Alliance to do the task of world-wide advocacy in support of the architecture for financing education.

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Report on Human Rights-Compatible International Investment Agreements, August 2021

Virtual Consultation in support of the UN Working Group’s 2021 Report to the UN General Assembly on Human Rights-Compatible International Investment Agreements

South Centre, 23 June 2021

Foreign direct investment (FDI) should support States’ efforts to “bring the SDGs and goals of the Paris Agreement to life for all people, everywhere.” However, achievement of these objectives is slowed down in the current situation where investor-State dispute settlement (ISDS) mechanisms are included in international investment agreements (IIAs). These mechanisms have increased the exposure of States to claims from foreign investors against regulatory measures taken to protect and guarantee a clean and safe environment, public health, human rights, social inclusion, and poverty reduction.

In the current scenario marked by the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, FDI can be a valuable source of financing a better and fairer recovery, including investment needed to achieve the full realisation of all human rights. But to achieve this potential, there is a need to reshape the international investment regime, including through the reform of its substantive rules and standards, as well as of the ISDS mechanisms embedded in existing IIAs.

The South Centre and the United Nations Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises convened a virtual consultation to identify and assess the different challenges developing countries face while negotiating or reforming IIAs in line with their international human rights obligations. The virtual consultation aimed at highlighting and discussing some of the most common concerns and challenges those developing countries face in the promotion of responsible investment practices, including an exploratory discussion about balancing the rights and obligations of investors in IIAs and safeguarding the sovereign right of States to regulate in the public interest for building back better and fairer in face of the COVID-19 pandemic. It also discussed possible reforms of the ISDS mechanism.

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