Heidi Hautala ehdotti Ihmisoikeudet ja kehitys -seminaarissa, että vuosituhattavoitteiden rinnalle tarvittaisiin oikeusvaltiotavoite: vuoteen 2020 mennessä viiden miljardin ihmisen pitäisi voida elää oikeusvaltio-oloissa.
Lue Hautalan avauspuheenvuoro Human Rights and Development -seminaarissa 4.10.2011[:]
Human Rights in the Finnish Development Policy
· In my intervention here today I will concentrate on outlining four aspects of the topic given to me. I hope that my remarks will set a good general frame for the overall discussions during this workshop.
· First of all, I will present the legal and political background on human rights as the very foundation of our Development Policy and Cooperation.
· Secondly, I will explain how human rights are taken on board at the policy making and implementation level in our Development Policy.
· Thirdly, Finland does not act in isolation but in cooperation with a number of important partners, as already this seminar illustrates. I will introduce the main forums we use in our work and the key partners with whom we cooperate.
· Fourthly, I will highlight some central human rights themes of the Finnish Development Policy and conclude with presenting some evidence about how the promotion of human rights advances sustainable development.
· The Constitution of Finland forms the very backbone of our Development Policy. It states that Finland participates in international co-operation with the aim of the protecting peace and human rights and promoting the development of society. Our current Government Programme further reiterates that: “The aim of Finland’s Foreign Policy is to strengthen international stability, safety, peace, justice and sustainable development as well as to promote rule of law, democracy and human rights. The last three goals are interdependent and closely intertwined. In fact they are both values in themselves as well as important means to reach the other goals.
· The Government Programme places Development Policy into this broad foreign and security policy agenda, underlining at the same time that the reduction of poverty continues to be its central theme. It also notes that Finland’s safety, wellbeing and success are based on cooperation with the international community.
· The Government Programme forms the basis for the new Development Policy that we are currently drafting. The values and aims outlined in it are not new to the Finnish development policy. Highlighting some of them prominently and explicitly, however, underlines once again and even more than before the importance of their full implementation at the policy and operational levels.
· Finland’s Development Policy is based on the respect for human rights, the promotion of their realisation. In short, a human rights based approach, founded on a broad notion of human rights, covering the rule of law, democracy, good governance and action against corruption.
· This human rights based approach to development is a tool to ensure effective integration of human rights in our cooperation with partner countries. The aim is to ensure that the human rights of all persons, in particular the rights of those who are in the most vulnerable and excluded position, are respected, protected and implemented in all areas of development cooperation. It is based on the notion accountability towards the right holders, i.e. that all governments are responsible for guaranteeing the human rights of everyone under their jurisdiction.
· The human rights based approach treats human beings as active participants in the development process instead of seeing them as passive objects. It is thus strongly linked to other crucial development policy principles: sustainability and inclusiveness. When thinking of ownership in relation to development cooperation, we should not limit ourselves to the government or the state. We also be thinking of the vulnerable groups who are among the ultimate beneficiaries and true subjects of the development. Conditioning aid for instance by requiring partner countries to take this into account is not about reducing their independence. It is in fact about strengthening their independence by empowering the population so that the people can claim their right to be part of the development process.
· I support a “devoted development policy” according which Finland conducts a genuine dialogue on the direction of development, but on the same time has the courage to defend the human rights defenders in developing countries. The human rights conditions on aid are not set by Finland only, but are based on the wider UN development agenda and the commitments made by the developing countries themselves.
· Let me mention one concrete example on how the human rights based approach is integrated into our development cooperation activities: In Central Asia we support a regional access to justice programme, which focuses on, in particular, better access to justice for easily marginalized persons such as (rural) women; children and youth; and persons with disabilities. This programme includes capacity building to improve the justice services of the authorities as well as capacity building for NGOs and individuals in order to increase their knowledge about their rights and, hence, their access to them.
· Finland believes in mainstreaming human rights, democracy and good governance into all development policy instruments, bilateral as well as multilateral ones. A large part of the Finnish development assistance is, in fact, channelled through various international organizations and actors.
· The EU is our main partner and also the biggest provider of development assistance in the world. Our aim is to ensure that human rights are included across the EU’s development policies and activities.
· The World Bank Group is our second biggest partner. The Nordic countries have introduced a strategic human rights dialogue with the World Bank. We have also set up a Nordic Trust Fund, which aims to enhance the human rights perspective in the activities of the Bank and in its Member Countries. [Finland was among the countries establishing the Nordic Trust Fund in the World Bank and has contributed funds to it, 2,2 million euros since 2006]
· The World Bank as a key global development actor and I believe that it should show leadership in promoting human rights both in practice and at the policy level. When attending the annual World Bank meeting few weeks ago, I noted with satisfaction the way in which the Bank lately has been able to move the human rights agenda forward in its work. But a lot remains to be done.
· The UN, with its funds and programmes, is also a very important partner to us – and we are actively keeping human rights, rule of law and good governance high on the agenda in our cooperation with the UN bodies.
· In addition to these partners I think that civil society is a key partner that we should engage with much more actively in the future. NGOs act as watchdogs and actors for accountability and change. They are also in general best informed about local situations and conditions and can thus be highly valuable partners in development cooperation. Increased support for the civil society should, however, not be used as an excuse for not raising human rights issues and concerns in bilateral discussions with our partner countries.
· I would now like to briefly touch upon some thematic human rights priorities in our Development Policy.
· Finland has consistently stressed the equal importance of and interdependence of all human rights; civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights. To put it simply, without fulfilment of the right to education – and consequently ability to read – one cannot effectively enjoy one’s right to access to information, and even less the right to meaningful political participation. The economic, social and cultural rights often tend to be neglected or downplayed in comparison with civil and political rights. Therefore many of our development cooperation programmes aim to, in particular, improve the access to economic, social and cultural rights.
· Promoting the rights of marginalized groups, namely the rights of women, children, minorities and indigenous peoples and persons with disabilities, is a key priority both in our development policy as well as in our overall human rights policy. Other vulnerable and marginalized groups, such as persons living with HIV/AIDS, are also at the top of our agenda.
· The Gender perspective is prominently included in our development policy and cooperation, and we focus in particular on the promotion of women’s and girls’ sexual and reproductive rights. Improving sexual and reproductive rights of women and girls is a very concrete way to improve their life and opportunities in many parts of the world. Finland has also actively pointed out the linkages between gender and climate change: women do suffer more from climate change.
· As noted before the participation of civil society in development processes is highly important. I would like to mention in particular one inportant group, i.e. human rights defenders who carry out essential work such as human rights monitoring, advocacy and follow-up. Their work often takes place complex and challenging environments and they sometimes risk their own physical and mental health and integrity, their dignity and even their very lives. Women human rights defenders often face additional challenges, especially in traditional societies. We can and should increasingly support the work of HRDs in our development cooperation.
· The realization of human rights, in the broad sense, is a central element in achieving economically, socially and ecologically sustainable development. The implementation of human rights and equality is also important for political stability.
· Those who are excluded from society and who are not able to enjoy their rights are often struck hardest by poverty. There is, thus, often a close link between serious violations of civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights and poverty. Extreme poverty in itself is perhaps the most central human rights challenge of our times. Only by advancing the economic, social and cultural rights and the political participation of the most vulnerable and marginalized groups can we effectively reduce extreme poverty.
· The recently published World Bank World Development Report 2012, “Gender Equality and Development” illustrates this fact very clearly. It shows that improved gender equality has far reaching benefits for economic and human development. Removing inequalities between women and men gives societies a better chance to develop. When women and men, girls and boys have equal opportunities to fulfil themselves economies grow faster, the health of children improves and there is less corruption.
· According to the World Bank World Development Report gender equality is smart economics: it enhances economic efficiency and improves other development outcomes.
· By removing barriers that prevent women from having the same access as men to education, economic opportunities, and productive inputs we can generate broad productivity gains
· Improving women’s absolute and relative status feeds many other development outcomes (health, education etc.), including those for their children;
· Levelling the playing field-giving women and men equal chances to become socially and politically active, to make decisions, and shape policies-will over time lead to more representative and more inclusive institutions and policy choices and thus to a more sustainable development path.
· As a last point, I would briefly like to address the theme of human rights and development within the context of fragility or violent conflict.
· The events in North Africa has reminded us all that the “social contract” between a government and the people requires trust and legitimacy built on human rights, rule of law and democracy. The World Bank’s 2011 report on Conflict, Security, and Development very pertinently highlighted this issue and concluded that in order to reduce violence, justice and security institutions need to be created or consolidated and employment of the population secured. One cannot but agree – and when this is done both authorities and civil society should be included in the process in order to ensure legitimacy and long term sustainability.