Amnesty International's Contribution to Post 2015 Development Agenda

Your Excellencies,

 Amnesty International welcomes the opportunity to provide input to the High Level Panel’s civil society consultation ahead of the meeting in Monrovia, Liberia (30 January – 2 February 2013), including through the online consultations. We appreciate that a set of 24 of framing questions have been put forward to guide the Panel’s considerations. At the same time, we regret the absence of key questions on how international human rights treaty standards and principles can – and must – frame and inform the identification of priorities for the post-2015 development agenda.

In order for the post-2015 development framework to be truly effective in transforming the lives of all those living in poverty, it must be guided by a framework for the realisation of human rights based on the range of obligations already undertaken by states. Human rights standards and principles strengthen global policy coherence, and help construct an accountability framework at global, regional, national and sub-national levels to ensure that post-2015 commitments are honoured in practice and effectively implemented on the ground.

In view of the above, Amnesty International respectfully urges the High Level Panel to ask the following framing questions which specifically address fundamental human rights principles, together with some of their key aspects:

How can we ensure that development policy and programmes are consistent with human rights obligations?

Consideration of this question should lead to a clear call for reaffirmation

  1. of all states’ legal obligations to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights;
  2. that national and international development policies, programmes and practice must reflect states’ obligations under international human rights law and
  3. that States engaging in international cooperation and technical and financial assistance, whether bilaterally and through international organisations, must be mutually accountable to ensure that such assistance is consistent with human rights obligations and for the necessity of carrying out adequate due diligence to prevent human rights abuses. Furthermore, each State should commit to designating or creating an institution with sufficient expertise to review development plans and related legislation and their implementation for consistency with human rights standards.

How can we ensure that development targets and frameworks are based on international human rights law?

This should include

  1. the establishment of timelines for fulfilling minimum essential levels of economic, social and cultural rights globally and for each country;
  2. clear and time-bound pledges by States in a position to provide assistance to ensure that there is adequate international co-operation assistance available where such assistance is necessary to ensure the realization of at least minimum essential levels of economic, social and cultural rights for all, and
  3. a commitment to strengthen international, regional and national systems for data collection on levels of access to water, sanitation, health, education, food and social protection to ensure that they fully assess quality, availability, physical accessibility and affordability. Such data must be disaggregated at least according to gender and the other most relevant grounds of discrimination, including ethnicity and disability.

How can we ensure a commitment to enhancing accountability mechanisms for existing human rights obligations as part of the framework for development after 2015?

This should include

  1. a commitment to ensure that people are able to use the law to enforce their rights and access effective remedies for all violations of human rights, in particular addressing any gaps in the law relating to the enforceability of economic, social and cultural rights;
  2. the removal of any barriers that people living in poverty face in accessing justice and effective remedies;
  3. a mandate for national human rights monitoring bodies as well as quasi-judicial regulatory bodies to monitor violations of human rights and to act on complaints, and ensure they have the capacity to do so effectively;
  4. increased monitoring and oversight by parliamentary bodies of efforts to meet the development goals, in particular to ensure their consistency with human rights obligations;
  5. use of the international human rights monitoring system to ensure consistency between development and human rights, for example through ratification of the Optional Protocols to the Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women, to provide additional scrutiny;
  6. systematic integration of reporting on national implementation of the development goals in reports to the Universal Periodic Review of the Human Rights Council and to international human rights treaty monitoring bodies and
  7. adoption of adequate safeguards, monitoring and accountability mechanisms to ensure that development assistance complies with human rights standards.

How can we ensure a commitment that development is inclusive, contributes to ending discrimination, guarantees gender equality and prioritises disadvantaged groups?

This should include

  1. a commitment that governments identify which groups are facing discrimination or particular barriers in realizing their rights and ensure that development efforts are designed and implemented in a way that focuses on removing these barriers and on improving the lives of the most disadvantaged;
  2. prioritization of the most disadvantaged groups in reforms to law, policy and practice, and take effective measures to end discriminatory measures such as violence against women and denial of sexual and reproductive rights;
  3. a requirement that States develop separate targets within national targets for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights for particular groups who face discrimination and disadvantage, monitor these targets, and collect data on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights that is disaggregated on the basis of gender and for other groups identified as facing discrimination and
  4. priority for disadvantaged groups in the allocation of resources from national funding and international assistance.

How do we reaffirm the right of access to information and participation?

This should include

  1. provision for effective participation in the processes of development – from priority setting to planning to implementation and monitoring – by ensuring access to relevant information and transparent processes which are inclusive and non-discriminatory, and consult the most affected
  2. commitment for each state to design and implement a poverty reduction framework that involves the active participation of those people living in poverty and (c) a requirement to respect, protect and fulfil the rights to freedom of expression, association, and assembly.

We are hoping that the Panel will be putting human rights at the centre of its deliberations and its report, and thus give an important impetus to worldwide implementation of civil, cultural, economic, political and social rights. In doing so, the Panel would contribute to genuine progress towards ending freedom from fear and freedom from want, and contribute to a world in which women, men and children in all parts of the world can live in dignity.

Yours sincerely,

Yasmin Hussein

International Advocacy Director