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Filling the Gaps in the Right to Development: A Study on the Understandings (and Misunderstandings) of Rights-Holders and Duty-Bearers

Goitom, Simret Natnael LU (2013) JURM02 20131
Department of Law
Abstract
The right to development (RTD) is an inalienable human right that has been affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly in the Declaration on the Right to Development (DRD), in 1986. The right has also been reaffirmed by several international declarations and in two regional human rights conventions, the African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Arab Charter on Human Rights, and it is often discussed in development discourse.

In the RTD development is viewed as a human right. This human right entails that development is a process where all human rights will be realized. An important component of this right is that the development process needs to be framed in terms of entitlements for rights-holders and duties on... (More)
The right to development (RTD) is an inalienable human right that has been affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly in the Declaration on the Right to Development (DRD), in 1986. The right has also been reaffirmed by several international declarations and in two regional human rights conventions, the African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Arab Charter on Human Rights, and it is often discussed in development discourse.

In the RTD development is viewed as a human right. This human right entails that development is a process where all human rights will be realized. An important component of this right is that the development process needs to be framed in terms of entitlements for rights-holders and duties on duty-bearers.

The concepts of rights-holders and duty-bearers are crucial in any human right, since effect implementation of a right warrants an understandable framework that denotes what actor has a right and what actor has a corresponding duty to realize the right. In the DRD two rights-holders are designated, the human person and all peoples. Furthermore the DRD prescribes that states are the duty-bearers, and that these duty-bearers have obligations in the national as well as the international level. Although these actors have been identified in the DRD and there have been discussions on the RTD in international discourse for the better part of three decades, there still remains much confusion on how to interpret who the rights-holders are, especially what “all peoples” mean, and the interrelationship between the rights-holders. The same confusion is present when discussing duty-bearers. The presence of an international obligation for duty-bearers, pegs the questions: what the different obligations of states are in the national and the international level? As well as what the interrelationship between the different forms of duties is?

This thesis aims at clarifying the understanding of rights-holders and duty-bearers in the RTD and pointing out gaps that still needs to be resolved. The intention is that a clear understanding of these concepts will hopefully lead to a more implementable right.

In this thesis it is argued that the RTD is essentially a right of individuals. They have the right both in their individual capacity as human beings and as part of a collective, a “people”. In the collective individuals cannot actuate an individual claim, but they are beneficiaries as the right of the “people” they are a part of is realized. In regards to “people” it has been found that there exist misunderstandings in regards to the definition of a “people”. The different definitions that have been expressed are that “people” are states, the entire population of states or indigenous people and minority groups. This thesis has clarified that “peoples” should not be misunderstood as meaning the state, rather it is collectives of persons. The true identification of a “people” is that it denotes the entire population of a state, as well as indigenous peoples and minority groups when they are present. Furthermore a question regarding rights-holders is whether they exclusively refer to individuals and “peoples” in developing countries or if they apply to all human persons and all peoples. This thesis has argued that since human rights are universal the latter notion must be a correct interpretation of the scope of rights-holders.

In regards to duty-bearer the thesis clarifies that they are states that are understood to have obligations to create a favourable national and international environment for the realization of the RTD. The primary obligation falls on states in the national context where they have an obligation to implement the right. However, to enable the full realization of the RTD it is deemed necessary that states cooperate to implement the right. This entails that states have an individual duty and a collective duty to advance the realization of the RTD internationally. Both of these duties are discussed in detail in the thesis. (Less)
Abstract (Swedish)
Rätten till utveckling (på engelska “Right to development” (RTD)) är en mänsklig rättighet som har bekräftats av FN: s generalförsamling i ”the Declaration on the Right to Development” (DRD) från 1986. Rätten har också bekräftats av flera internationella deklarationer och två regionala mänskliga rättighetskonventioner, ”the African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights” och “Arab Charter on Human Rights”. Dessutom diskuteras RTD ofta i utveckling diskurs.

I RTD anses utveckling vara en mänsklig rättighet. Denna mänskliga rättighet innebär att utveckling är en process där alla mänskliga rättigheter kommer att uppfyllas. En viktig komponent i denna rättighet är att utvecklingsprocessen måste utformas som en rätt för... (More)
Rätten till utveckling (på engelska “Right to development” (RTD)) är en mänsklig rättighet som har bekräftats av FN: s generalförsamling i ”the Declaration on the Right to Development” (DRD) från 1986. Rätten har också bekräftats av flera internationella deklarationer och två regionala mänskliga rättighetskonventioner, ”the African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights” och “Arab Charter on Human Rights”. Dessutom diskuteras RTD ofta i utveckling diskurs.

I RTD anses utveckling vara en mänsklig rättighet. Denna mänskliga rättighet innebär att utveckling är en process där alla mänskliga rättigheter kommer att uppfyllas. En viktig komponent i denna rättighet är att utvecklingsprocessen måste utformas som en rätt för rättighetsinnehavare (eng: rights-holders) och plikt för skyldighetsbärare (eng: duty-bearers).

Begreppen rättighetsinnehavare och skyldighetsbärare är en viktig komponent i alla mänsklig rättighet, eftersom en effektiv implementering av en mänsklig rättighet kräver att det finns en tydlig identifiering av vilken aktör som har en rätt och vilken aktör som har en motstående skyldighet att realisera rättigheten. I DRD identifieras två rättighetsinnehavare, individen och alla ”folk” (eng: ”peoples”). Vidare föreskriver DRD att stater är skyldighetsbärare och att de har skyldigheter i den nationella samt internationella sfären. Även fast dessa aktörer har identifierats i DRD och DRD har diskuteras internationellt i nära tre decennier så råder det fortfarande avsevärda oklarheter kring hur man ska tolka vilka rättighetsinnehavarna är, speciellt vad alla ”folk" betyder, och även förhållande mellan rättighetsinnehavarna. Samma oklarheter finns närvarande när skyldighetshavare diskuteras. I och med att en internationell förpliktelse har inkluderats så är frågorna: vilka de olika skyldigheterna är i den nationella samt den internationella kontexten? Dessutom så frågan om det inbördes förhållandet mellan internationella och nationella skyldigheter relevant?

Denna uppsats syftar till att klargöra förståelsen av rättighetsinnehavare och skyldighetsbärare i RTD och att identifiera luckor i förståelsen av dessa koncept. Förhoppningen är att en klar förståelse av dessa koncept kan leda till en rättighet som är mer genomförbar.

I denna uppsats anges det att RTD är i huvudsak en rättighet för enskilda. De har en rättighet både i sin kapacitet som individer och som en del av ett kollektiv, ett "folk". Som en del av kollektivet har inte individer ett enskilt anspråk till rättigheten, tanken är istället att de är förmånstagare när ”folkets” rättighet realiseras. Dessutom så har uppsatsen identifierat att det råder missuppfattningar angående hur ”folket” ska definieras. De olika definitioner som har framförts är att ett ”folk” betyder staten, hela befolkningen i en stat, ursprungsbefolkningar och minoritetsgrupper. I denna uppsats har det klargjorts att ett ”folk” inte ska uppfattas som en stat. ”Folket” ska istället förstås som hela befolkningen i en stat, och när de finns även ursprungsbefolkningar och minoritetsgrupper. Ännu en fråga som har avgjorts angående rättighetsinnehavare är om RTD är en rättighet för alla individer och folk, eller om det ska uppfattas att rätten är exklusiv för individer och folk i utvecklingsländer. I uppsatsen hävdas det att den senare tolkningen måste uppfattas som den riktiga eftersom mänskliga rättigheter är universella.

Uppsatsen klargör att skyldighetsbärare är stater och att de har en skyldighet att skapa en nationell och en internationell miljö som främjar förverkligandet av RTD. Statens skyldighet i den nationella kontexten anses vara en primär skyldighet, och det är nationellt som rättigheten främst implementeras. För att kunna implementera rättigheten till fullo anses det även vara nödvändigt att stater samarbetar för att förverkliga rättigheten. Detta innebär att stater har en individuell och en kollektiv skyldighet att främja förverkligandet av RTD globalt. Båda skyldigheterna diskuteras i detalj i uppsatsen. (Less)
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author
Goitom, Simret Natnael LU
supervisor
organization
course
JURM02 20131
year
type
H3 - Professional qualifications (4 Years - )
subject
keywords
public international law, folkrätt, human rights, mänskliga rättigheter, right to development
language
English
id
3802939
date added to LUP
2013-06-19 08:21:32
date last changed
2013-06-19 08:21:32
@misc{3802939,
  abstract     = {The right to development (RTD) is an inalienable human right that has been affirmed by the United Nations General Assembly in the Declaration on the Right to Development (DRD), in 1986. The right has also been reaffirmed by several international declarations and in two regional human rights conventions, the African [Banjul] Charter on Human and Peoples’ Rights and Arab Charter on Human Rights, and it is often discussed in development discourse.

In the RTD development is viewed as a human right. This human right entails that development is a process where all human rights will be realized. An important component of this right is that the development process needs to be framed in terms of entitlements for rights-holders and duties on duty-bearers.

The concepts of rights-holders and duty-bearers are crucial in any human right, since effect implementation of a right warrants an understandable framework that denotes what actor has a right and what actor has a corresponding duty to realize the right. In the DRD two rights-holders are designated, the human person and all peoples. Furthermore the DRD prescribes that states are the duty-bearers, and that these duty-bearers have obligations in the national as well as the international level. Although these actors have been identified in the DRD and there have been discussions on the RTD in international discourse for the better part of three decades, there still remains much confusion on how to interpret who the rights-holders are, especially what “all peoples” mean, and the interrelationship between the rights-holders. The same confusion is present when discussing duty-bearers. The presence of an international obligation for duty-bearers, pegs the questions: what the different obligations of states are in the national and the international level? As well as what the interrelationship between the different forms of duties is?

This thesis aims at clarifying the understanding of rights-holders and duty-bearers in the RTD and pointing out gaps that still needs to be resolved. The intention is that a clear understanding of these concepts will hopefully lead to a more implementable right. 

In this thesis it is argued that the RTD is essentially a right of individuals. They have the right both in their individual capacity as human beings and as part of a collective, a “people”. In the collective individuals cannot actuate an individual claim, but they are beneficiaries as the right of the “people” they are a part of is realized. In regards to “people” it has been found that there exist misunderstandings in regards to the definition of a “people”. The different definitions that have been expressed are that “people” are states, the entire population of states or indigenous people and minority groups. This thesis has clarified that “peoples” should not be misunderstood as meaning the state, rather it is collectives of persons. The true identification of a “people” is that it denotes the entire population of a state, as well as indigenous peoples and minority groups when they are present. Furthermore a question regarding rights-holders is whether they exclusively refer to individuals and “peoples” in developing countries or if they apply to all human persons and all peoples. This thesis has argued that since human rights are universal the latter notion must be a correct interpretation of the scope of rights-holders.

In regards to duty-bearer the thesis clarifies that they are states that are understood to have obligations to create a favourable national and international environment for the realization of the RTD. The primary obligation falls on states in the national context where they have an obligation to implement the right. However, to enable the full realization of the RTD it is deemed necessary that states cooperate to implement the right. This entails that states have an individual duty and a collective duty to advance the realization of the RTD internationally. Both of these duties are discussed in detail in the thesis.},
  author       = {Goitom, Simret Natnael},
  keyword      = {public international law,folkrätt,human rights,mänskliga rättigheter,right to development},
  language     = {eng},
  note         = {Student Paper},
  title        = {Filling the Gaps in the Right to Development: A Study on the Understandings (and Misunderstandings) of Rights-Holders and Duty-Bearers},
  year         = {2013},
}