Human Rights

South Centre Semester Report, January – June 2022

South Centre Semester Report, January – June 2022

While global inequality continues to grow, developing and least developed countries face multiple crises in the context of a weak recovery from COVID-19, massive outflows of capital, decline of Official Development Assistance, monetary policy tightening, increase in food and energy prices and the impact of climate change. This document presents a brief analysis of the situation faced by South Centre’s members and other developing and least developed countries and provides a summary of the activities undertaken by the Centre in the period January – June 2022.

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Webinar: Climate Change, International Investment, Business and Human Rights, 27 September 2022

Webinar: Exploring Linkages between Climate Change, International Investment and the Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights

27 September 2022

Virtual event

Time: 15:30 – 17:00 CEST

Facilitated by the South Centre, this webinar is an opportunity for participants representing developing country governments, civil society and academia to exchange views and discuss the linkages between Climate Change, International Investment reforms and the Legally Binding Instrument, and how to harness their common    elements to recover better, build resilience against future crises and achieve the UN 2030 Agenda & the SDGs.

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Research Paper 163, 19 August 2022

The Human Right to Science: From Fragmentation to Comprehensive Implementation?

By Peter Bille Larsen and Marjorie Pamintuan

In times when the role of science in society is more debated than ever in polarized, politicized and partial terms, what is the role for the human right to science and rights-based approaches? The right to science remains poorly understood and neglected in both national and global human rights processes. Beyond defending the freedom of scientific expression, upholding the right to science is arguably fundamental to resolving key sustainability challenges of our times from climate change and the biodiversity crisis to global health and pandemics. The global COVID-19 pandemic has revealed persistent global inequalities not least in terms of how the privatization of science and current intellectual property regimes hinder just and equitable responses to access science and its benefits. This prompts the need for a shift from single-issue approaches to comprehensive and systematic treatment of the right to science as a bundle of human rights across multiple arenas to counter fragmentation and silo-tendencies.

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SouthViews No. 239, 30 June 2022

Farmers, Seeds & the Laws: Importing the Chilling Effect Doctrine

By Saurav Ghimire

As an increasing number of countries are formulating Plant Variety Protection (PVP) laws, a growing number of farmers are affected by plant breeders’ rights. In addition, the seed certification law also affects farmers’ relations with seeds. Discussing the farmers’ interaction with the PVP law and seed certification law in Indonesia, this article establishes that the farmers have internalised the law beyond the scope of the legal text, such that they self-limit breeding, saving, and exchanging of seeds even in legally permissible situations. Based on the chilling effect doctrine, this article argues that the related laws should be relaxed to ensure that they do not over deter farmers from exercising their rights. This article calls for both negative and positive state obligations to address the chilling effect on farmers arising from both state and private actors.

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Human Rights Council Side Event, 30 June 2022

At the occasion of the 50th session of the Human Rights Council, we would like to invite you to the following event:

Good practices, lessons learned and challenges in the implementation of the UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas

Date: Thursday, 30th of June 2022 Time: 18.30 – 20.00

The side-event will be hybrid.

Organizers: Permanent Mission of the Plurinational State of Bolivia, Permanent Mission of South Africa, Permanent Mission of the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg, Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs, La Via Campesina, CETIM, FIAN International, Geneva Academy of Human Rights and International Humanitarian Law, South Center, OHCHR

With the support of: Friends of the UNDROP Switzerland

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Contributions on taxation, IFFs and human rights to IE report to UNGA 77, 30 May 2022

South Centre Contributions on ‘taxation, illicit financial flows and human rights’ to the report of the Independent Expert to the UN General Assembly, 77th session

The South Centre offers its comments to the report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights to the General Assembly, 77th session.

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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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South Centre Semester Report, July – December 2021

South Centre Semester Report, July – December 2021

The South Centre undertakes policy-oriented research on issues, as defined in its Work Program (https://www.southcentre.int/work-program/), that are relevant to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals. It supports the countries of the South to effectively participate in negotiating processes in order to build up a multilateral system that supports and does not undermine development efforts. It also provides policy and technical advice and capacity building in support of countries and institutions of the South. Catalogues of the publications of the Centre can be found at https://www.southcentre.int/publications-catalogues/.

The South Centre expands its reach and impact by leveraging cooperation with other international organizations, research institutions, academia and civil society.

This Semester Report is an account of how the South Centre’s Secretariat has fulfilled the Centre’s mission through the different workstreams for the period July – December 2021.

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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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