Yulia Shirokova


    A particular understanding of the relationship between States, Human Rights advocacy, and the International community has shaped the International Politics of Human Rights in recent decades. Globalization and interdependence of societies made Human Rights and Human Development an important concern for countries as well as one of the reasons for international cooperation between them. In this article the question of potential integration of Human Rights and Development as well as ways of how these processes can contribute to each other will be analyzed. My argument is that Human Rights and Human Development are interdependent processes and there are potentials for integration of these two important processes from which both of them can benefit.
    During the last years several reasons based on which we can consider potentials for integration of Development and Human Rights appeared in International practice. First, human development is considered in from modern perspective as one of the rights of individual and it is placed at the same row as civil and political rights.
    Second, each group of rights, civil and political rights from one hand and economic and social from the other, have components of development level in each group of those rights. For example, right for education has a component of an intellectual development; political rights indicate level of political development of society.
    Third, the social and institutional development as well as good governance is considered now from perspective of democracy, implementation of human rights policy, and from the perspective of participation of community in decision-making process. In this case, one group of rights is a condition to achieving the fulfillment of others: only with implementation of political rights - rights for people to participate in society - people can take an advantage of economic rights.
    Before considering the ways where these two categories, human rights and development, can be dependent from each other I would like to consider what these categories mean, what aims and target groups they have, what mechanisms these processes use, and what institutions are responsible for both of these processes.
    "Development is most often though as growth in the capacity of community to generate a rising standard of living for all of its citizens" [1]. The evolution of development process had several stages. It began only from economic growth, then individual who have rights for social, cultural and political development became a center of development process. After that to development process were added ideas sustainability, development as enlarging people’s choices. UNDP’s current definition of Human Development includes the following dimensions: empowerment, cooperation, equity, sustainability and security.
    Human Rights category is seen from two points: the rights of individuals against States, and rights of groups. In both approaches one of the functions of protecting international human rights as well as developing democracy is seen as condition for peaceful development of countries and condition for participation of people in government.
    The idea of human rights includes the protection of individuals against the power of states and at the same time the duty of states to implement those standards and create high standard of living for citizens. Human Rights are considered as norms and rules concerning these relations.
    From these definitions of Development and Human Rights we can see that both categories represent process rather than a result, and they share a common vision and purpose "to secure the freedom, well-being, and dignity of people everywhere" [2].
    In most cases human rights and human development have the same target groups. A good example of this integration could be refugees as a shared target group for human rights as well as for human development process. Following example related to refugees policy will help us to show the interdependence and integration of these two processes at this level.
    Refugees are legally defined as people who are outside of their countries because of a well-founded fear of persecution there based on race, religion, nationality, political opinion or membership in a particular social group, and who cannot or don’t want to return home.
    From this definition we can make a conclusion that violation of basic rights of people placed them in the situation where their economical and social development at that stage cannot be secured. And people lost their level of development that they had because of impossibility to defend their rights.
    The mostly useful decision to this problem in current practice is an international protection to ensure respect of refugees’ human rights and to place people where their development will be possible. One of the most helpful solutions to refugees’ problems became development projects that aimed to help refugees in their new places of living or once they return to their home countries. This development projects aimed to help refugees either to integrate themselves into the country where they first sought asylum or to resettle them in a third country where they will have chances to find work and resume their lives or to help them to resettle when they come back to their home countries. Ensuring basic human rights, such as education, food, place to live from one hand, and developing the community to contribute to refugees’ development from the other is an example that confirms our argument about integration of human rights and development as a two-way process that share common goals, common target groups, and common solutions to the problem.
    Though there are different institutions for developing these processes there are visible ways of interdependence where they contribute to each other. Institutions for development process are institutions like UNDP or World Bank. Institutions for implementing Human Rights protection are UNCHR or UNCR. But these two processes meet together in the work of non-governmental actors of society. As we can observe in practice, there is a collaboration of UN Commission for Refugees and development organizations such as UNDP, WHO, WFP, ICRC, and other governmental and non-governmental organizations. And at this level we can talk about integration of human rights and development processes in practice. This integration, I think, based on above considered theoretical basis and special role that plays non-governmental organizations to implement effectively Human Rights norms and standards through development process on the one hand and on the other hand to stimulate development through human rights.
    The other level where development and human rights meet and influence on each other because human development is a condition for implementing Human Rights standards because people cannot think about democracy and human rights without democratic environment in political situation and without good economical conditions of their lives. From the other hand without fulfillment of Human Rights standards human development can’t be fully implemented. This is an example of how human rights and human development can enhance each other.
    At the same time the interactions at this level between development and human rights are not one-way interactions. International Development of Human Rights policy and standards make it very influential part of foreign policy and it makes government consider and count on International Policy in the development process. These trends influence on developing local Human Right policies in countries. In this case International cooperation and interdependence become conditions of development of human rights and human development all around the world.
    From this analysis we can make several conclusions about effectiveness of the integration of human rights and development.
    First of all, the analysis of interdependence of Human Rights and Human Development in each particular case can contribute to each of these processes because it can help to design and implement more effective development policy as well as more effective implementation of human rights policy.
    Second, human rights and development creates empowerment of people and development can base on this in its process. Human rights in this case can contribute to development an equal opportunity for people to participate in development process and secure their protection and dignity. The two-way process of integration and collaboration of Human Rights and Human Development ensures more effective development of each of these processes. International cooperation becomes a monitoring, functional, and implementing mechanism to ensure the development and effective integration of Human Rights and Human Development processes.


Research for this article was supported in part by a grant from the Russian-US Young Leadership Fellows for Public Service Program, a program of the Bureau of Educational and Cultural Affairs (ECA) of the United States Department of State, administered by the International Research and Exchanges Board (IREX). Neither ECA nor IREX are responsible for the views expressed.


  1. Joseph Eaton, Preface to "An annotated guide to Global Development: capacity building for effective social change", Guy Gran, Graduate School of Public and International Affairs, University of Pittsburgh, c1987.
  2. Development Report 2000. New York ; Oxford : Oxford University Press, 2000.
  3. The World Bank Participation Sourcebook. Washington, DC: World Bank, 1996.