Human Rights Watch (HRW) is incensed by the neglect of human rights worldwide, and continues to be baffled by the United Nations’ ‘omission’ of human rights from its Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) agenda.
Consequently, the overall impact of development efforts has been diminished by the neglect of human rights despite progress in recent years, , HRW said, warning this week that development will not deliver for the poorest and most marginalised people in the world without a strong focus on human rights.
Iain Levine, HRW deputy executive director for programme, said: “The post-2015 agenda needs to tackle discrimination, exclusion, and inequality, and guarantee the participation of poor people themselves in the development programs designed to help them.”
In Africa, where grinding poverty continues to chain and enslave millions of people more than 50 years since its independence from European colonial masters, the issue of human rights has long ceased to be on the agenda of several cabinets’ meetings and National Assemblies’ sittings.
Many countries in Africa have laws that guarantee the respect of human rights – at least on paper – but the reality is horrific and despicable.
Analysts firmly believe that when the respect of human rights is overlooked, many poor people are unable to voice their concerns openly about poor service delivery, state corruption and abuse of power, fearing arrest, lengthy detention, torture, or even execution.
“Many people have been denied the benefits of economic progress or access to economic opportunities, resources, and services as a result of discrimination linked to gender, age, ethnicity, disability, religion, caste, or other social status,” the New York-based rights organisation said.
HRW said it has documented major and systemic barriers to education for children with disabilities in Nepal and China.
Despite its global powerful economic status, China has one of the poorest and worst human rights records in the world. Freedom of expression and media liberties are prohibited, and all protests are met with the barrel of the gun and could be followed by massive arrests and hasty imprisonments in this repressive nation.
Furthermore, HRW wonders why the UN has omitted the issue of human rights in its MDGs agenda. Several analysts have also questioned the UN’s motives without getting any proper answer.
‘The MDGs do not include goals or targets for marginalised populations – such as people with disabilities – and are not grounded in a human rights framework,” Levine said.
“As a result, there has been no incentive or accountability for national governments, bilateral donors, or international financial institutions to address inequality or discrimination in the current development agenda.”
Photo: Hungry African children begging for food