Journal of the Group of 77 - Volume 19/2 (2007) (Summer Edition)


UNITED NATIONS, (G77/IPS) -- The Joint Coordinating Committee (JCC)-- which comprises the Non-Aligned Movement, the Group of 77 and China-- has warned that issues such as human rights should not be introduced as new conditionalities for international development assistance.

In a statement during informal consultations of the General Assembly on the report of the high level panel on system-wide coherence, the JCC underscored the importance of a positive approach and constructive engagement in the promotion and protection of all human rights and fundamental freedoms.

While there are a number of useful recommendations in the report, the JCC said, the high-level panel may have also touched upon some issues, such as human rights, as a cross-cutting issues in the context of UN operational activities for development.

"While those issues are not confined only to developing countries, the Group has concern that those issues might be misused to introduce new conditionalities on international development assistance which is not acceptable to developing countries."

The statement said it is important not to forget that the true role of UN Funds and Programmes is to foster long-term development. "The operationalization of human rights should not replace the development cooperation projects and should be additional and complementary to development cooperation activities".

The JCC further reaffirmed that the fundamental characteristics of the operational activities for development of the United Nations system should be, inter alia, their universal, voluntary and grant nature, their neutrality and their multilateralism, as well as their ability to respond to the development needs of recipient countries in a flexible manner.

All perational activities should also be carried out for the benefit of recipient countries, at the request of those countries and in accordance with their own policies and priorities for development.

There should be no restrictions on the ability and sovereignty of the national governments to determine their own development priorities or select their development partners, as well as the type of relation with the UN development entities they wish to establish at the country level, the statement noted.

Moreover, the development system should continue to support development efforts of developing countries principally by assisting in the implementation of nationally determined development plans, strategies and priorities.

The statement also said that the Group believes that certain recommendations in the Panel Report, even though relevant, need further details and specificity for Member States to fully understand and consider them.

"This reaffirms the need for continued discussion and engagement to seek clarification on all such issues before taking any decisions."

The JCC said it will engage constructively in this endeavor.

The JCC also reaffirmed the value of the principles and purposes contained in the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and other human rights instruments.

It also emphasized that all human rights are universal, indivisible, interrelated, interdependent and mutually reinforcing, and stressed the necessity to provide equal treatment to both civil and political rights and economic, social and cultural rights, as well as the right to development.

The 2005 World Summit emphasized the responsibilities of all States, in conformity with the Charter, to respect human rights and fundamental freedoms for all, without distinction of any kind as to race, colour, sex, language or religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.

The JCC said it recognizes the importance of ensuring universality, objectivity and non-selectivity in the consideration of human rights issues and the elimination of double standards and politicization as contained in the Resolution 60/251.

With the adoption of the Human Rights Council Resolution 5/1 entitled Institution-building of the Human Rights Council, Member States reiterate once again that this body and its mechanisms must be conducted in an objective, transparent, non-selective, constructive, non- confrontational and non-politicized manner.

The centrality of genuine dialogue and cooperation must be the tools that will augur well for the future work of the Council and its credibility, statement added.