Governance and human rights
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Governance and Human Rights. Professor NIAZ AHMED KHAN, Ph.D. (Wales) University of Dhaka, Bangladesh University of Wales, UK. Human Rights, Development and Governance: Basic Features and Linkages.

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Governance and Human Rights

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Governance and human rights

Governance and Human Rights

Professor NIAZ AHMED KHAN, Ph.D. (Wales)

University of Dhaka, Bangladesh

University of Wales, UK


Human rights development and governance basic features and linkages

Human Rights, Development and Governance: Basic Features and Linkages

  • Human rights include all those rights essential for human survival, physical security, liberty and development in dignity

  • Rights that have been recognized by global community and protected by international legal instruments

  • Represent a global agreement of the inherent dignity and of the equal and inalienable rights of all members of the human family

  • Establish defined obligations of states for ensuring the enjoyment of human rights

  • Provide a coherent framework for theoretical and practical action at national and international levels

  • Provide a basis for participation and partnership in development

  • Establish objective criteria for good governance

  • Cross-cutting twin principles of equal rights of women and man, and prohibition of discrimination of any kind on the grounds of race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or the opinion, national or social origin etc.

  • Universality: every man, woman and child is entitled to enjoy HR by virtue of being human

  • Indivisible, interrelated and interdependent


Human rights development and governance basic features and linkages1

Human Rights, Development and Governance: Basic Features and Linkages

  • Human rights and nation building

  • Compliance with and campaigns for HR

  • People have a right to be governed in the most efficient manner as enunciated in the Constitution – good governance as a right

  • Absence of good gov crates conditions where people would be deprived of basic rights

  • Good governance as a tool for protection and promotion of HR through the help of law enforcement agencies, judicial systems and various governmental and non gov institutions


Key global documents on hr as it relates to dev and governance

Key Global Documents on HR (as it relates to dev and governance)

  • 1948: UN adopted the Universal Declaration of HR as “a common standard of achievement for all peoples”

  • The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights

  • The Convention of the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women

  • The Convention on the Rights of the Child

  • An overview of the Universal Declaration of HR (Khan 1998)


Hr approach to development

HR Approach to Development

  • A human rights app to dev stresses liberty, equality and empowerment

  • Puts people first: human centred dev

  • Recognizes equality between women and men

  • Promotes equal opportunities and choices for all so that everyone has a chance to contribute to dev

  • Promotes national/international systems based on econ equity, equity in access to public resources, and social justice

  • Utilizes human rights principles and legal norms as a coherent framework for concrete action to eliminate poverty and to achieve sustainable improvement in the quality of life and poor and socially isolated


Hr as a tool for development and governance

HR as a Tool for Development and Governance

  • Human rights as a tool for development and governance

    • Identification of causes of poverty and social isolation

    • Dev of appropriate methodology for design, implementation and evaluation of dev programs

    • Establishment of a focus on the poor and disadvantaged

    • Poverty alleviation through implementation of human rights of women and children

    • Dev of appropriate benchmarks ad indicators of ensuring progress in improving quality of life of the poor

  • Possible Categories of integration of human rights in dev cooperation:

    • Using dev as a carrot/stick to promote respect for HR

    • Promoting HR in times of conflict and peace making

    • Assisting government to restructure their institutions, laws and policies

    • Providing direct support Hr projects: independence of judiciary, freedom of press, police training, support civil society institutions, protection of HR, women empowerment etc.


Issues and concerns of hr and governance in bangladesh

Issues and Concerns of HR and Governance in Bangladesh

  • Participatory democracy: Comprehensive constitutional provisions; poor implementation; Free, fair elections not fully realized; Military takeover and disruption of democracy; Loopholes in the formulation and functioning of Care Taker Governments

  • Rule of Law: Executive influence on Judiciary; Higher judiciary relatively independent; Post retirement prospect of getting lucrative positions as a hindrance against impartial performance

  • Law making agencies: No criticism of government policies in parliaments; Poor performance of Parliamentary Committees; Ineffective parliaments

  • Civil Society: limited advocacy and networking; unhappy relations between government and CS; limited audience; partisan politics

  • International development community: Aid conditions; Sometimes seen as interference in internal affairs;

  • Enlightened and vigilant citizenry

  • Basic values: values like patriotism, love for fellow citizens, and nationalism not adequately nourished;

  • Participation

  • Accountability and Transparency: requires decisions made and their enforcement done in manner that follows rules; little disclosure in government offices; the media playing a relatively better role; huge corruption in government;

  • Responsiveness: institutions and processes serving all stakeholders within a reasonable timeframe; totally absent

  • Consensus oriented: requires mediation of different interests in society to reach broad consensus on major decisions


Questions and key references

Questions and Key References

Questions to Ponder

  • Why do you think human rights are a development issue?

  • What do you understand by HR Approach to Development? Is this relevant in Bangladesh?

  • Identify the linkages and relations between HR and development, and analyze the situation of HR and governance in Bangladesh.

    Key References

  • Hausermann J. 1998. A Human Rights Approach to Development, Rights and Humanity, London in association with DfID, London.

  • Hye H.A. (ed.) 2000. Governance: South Asian Perspectives, The University Press Limited, Dhaka

  • Khan B.U. 1998 Fifty Years of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, IDHRB, Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs, Government of Bangladesh, Dhaka

  • Rahman M. ed. 2004. Human Rights and Good Governance, Empowerment through Law of the Common People, Dhaka. (especially the articles by M. Rafiqul Islam, M. Shah Alam, M. Rahmat Ullah.)


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