International

Better balance needed between civil rights, right to development : India

Confrontation is counterproductive, leading to politicisation of human rights

United Nations.

India, which is facing several protests against development projects, has said that there has to be a better balance between the right to development and civil and political rights.

"Developmental priorities and societal contexts will continue to define the path that different countries take in the process to realise individual and collective rights," Paulomi Tripathi, a First Secretary in the Indian Mission, told the General Assembly committee that deals with human rights issues on Monday.

"The landmark Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action in 1993 placed economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development, at the same level as civil and political rights," she said during the committee debate on the "Promotion and Protection of Human Rights."

"We must have a balanced approach to enhance capacities of duty-bearers to meet their obligations and of rights-holders to claim their rights," she said.

"Undue focus on one over the other would be counter-productive," she added.

Development programmes in India have been opposed by groups backed by civil rights organisations and in some cases with foreign instigation and support.

Many of the projects that face opposition are in the energy and infrastructure sectors with high impact on development.

A consideration of the balance between the two sets of rights is relevant to the implementation of the UN’s 2030 Agenda on Sustainable Development, Tripathi said.

The Vienna Declaration was adopted at the UN World Conference on Human Rights, which was attended by 171 countries and prepared the roadmap for the UN in the area such as creating the officer of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and forging a consensus on the relationship between human and development rights.

Tripathi said that there has to be "an honest appraisal" of whether "aggressive and overly intrusive methods without consultation and consent of the country concerned" have led to genuine improvement in human rights.

"Such confrontational approach has often been counterproductive, leading to politicisation of human rights issues" while dialogue, consultation and cooperation with non-selectivity and transparency will produce better results, she added.

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