[Date Prev][Date Next][Thread Prev][Thread Next][Date Index][Thread Index]
AFRO-NETS> The new UN human rights approach... (7)
- Subject: AFRO-NETS> The new UN human rights approach... (7)
- From: Claudio Schuftan <email@example.com>
- Date: Sat, 3 Feb 2001 15:28:37 -0500 (EST)
The new UN human rights approach... (7)
WHAT DOES THE NEW UN HUMAN RIGHTS APPROACH BRING TO THE STRUGGLE OF
Part 6 (of 9)
The World Bank, or a (1999) position full of contradictions on how to
look at the Human Rights approach.
[For your judgment, I am here quoting from the intervention of James
Christopher Lovelace, WB vice-president, in the ACC/SCN Symposium on
'The substance and politics of a Human Rights approach to food and
nutrition policies and programs', Geneva, April 1999. (13) (Emphases
53. "The WB recognizes that the Human Rights approach is an important
new narrative (?) of the international development discourse.
(Granted,) Sustainable Development is impossible without Human Right.
(But) This realization does not imply the World Bank's lending and
non-lending decisions will always be governed by Human Rights consid-
erations. For the WB, the measure of its commitment on ethical, po-
litical or rights issues does not lie in its pronouncements, but on
how its resources have been applied. Its loans have helped turn
rights into realities (?). (On the other hand,) The Bank's Articles
of Agreement clearly state that in all its decisions, only economic
considerations shall be relevant. (WB, 1996). This criterion has, at
times, been applied in too narrow a fashion, sometimes with negative
consequences. The question (then) is whether the limited mandate of
the WB would preclude it from adequately confronting the issue of Hu-
man Rights. (No matter what,) The Human Rights framework still leaves
us with the practical challenge to make choices. (I think) The prin-
ciples of Human Rights must exert an abiding influence on the design
of the operational details of WB projects. (Actually,) We need a di-
vision of labor: advocacy for respect of Human Rights should be the
task of the UN agencies, bilateral donors and NGOs; providing re-
sources for scaling up projects that fulfil Human Rights should be
the role of the International Financial Institutions. The WB's spe-
cific role and contribution will (thus) continue to be to bring to
the debate a measure of economic rigor required to systematically
weigh alternative means towards fulfilling the states' obligations
towards Human Rights".
54. One critic of Mr Lovelace's portrayal of the Bank's stance coun-
tered that the World Bank had been instrumental in making it very
difficult for governments to respect, protect, facilitate and fulfill
their Human Rights obligations. It had repeatedly created constraints
such that people in many countries had not had their rights ful-
filled. As a matter of fact, he said, Structural Adjustment con-
stantly creates difficulties and constraints for Human Rights. (2)
55. To this, Mr Lovelace replied: "I would agree that structural ad-
justment hasn't always considered the human dimension, and in some
cases has clearly worked against it". (13)
[The above is not presented as an exposé or a mockery; it just is to
show how the Human Rights approach also forces institutions to take
sides: and they are not always well prepared to do so. I am confident
the Bank will find some astute way out (or in) on this issue as
Send mail for the `AFRO-NETS' conference to `firstname.lastname@example.org'.
Mail administrative requests to `email@example.com'.
For additional assistance, send mail to: `firstname.lastname@example.org'.