UN Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon [official profile] on Friday urged [statement] global leaders to answer calls for the right to development [press release]. Ban's comments mark the twenty-fifth anniversary of the UN Declaration on the Right to Development [text], which declared that development was an inalienable right. Ban reminded leaders to create development opportunities and noted his plans to address development at an upcoming conference:
Today we are at a decisive moment in history. As calls for change echo across the world, we cannot take refuge in silence. Leaders must respond to the demands of people who seek to build their own future. They should especially work to help women and youth enjoy lives of dignity, equality and opportunity. Global challenges and crises are interconnected. Economic, social and environmental concerns are inseparable. And human rights are integral to them all. That is why we are placing sustainable development at the top of the international agenda. Next year's United Nations Conference on Sustainable Development, Rio+20, will offer a critical opportunity to chart a course to the future we want.The Declaration states that everyone is "entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development, in which all human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realized."
The UN has taken action to highlight areas of what it sees as fundamental human rights of the broader global community. In November, the UN Special Rapporteur on the Right to Food Olivier De Schutter [official website] urged the World Trade Organization (WTO) [official website] to make food security a top priority [JURIST report] at future meetings. In October, the UN Special Rapporteur on Violence Against Women [official website] Rashida Manjoo [official profile] urged states to fulfill their obligations [JURIST report] to prevent violence, inequality, and oppression against women. The UN General Assembly [official website] in 2010 adopted a resolution [JURIST report] declaring that access to clean and sanitized drinking water is a basic human right.