The world we live in has gone through significant changes throughout the last century, which extends their importance beyond economic sphere. The concepts of human rights have evolved in a greater way owing to the developments made by efforts of the United Nations and the states. The matter of sorrow is that though the concept of human rights has evolved, the word as a whole is yet to enjoy the fruit of it. The world is affected by remarkable deprivation, destitution and oppression. New problems are popping up every day; some of the older problems also add misery to the global community. Among these problems are food security, environment, and sustainability of our economic and social lives. To overcome these problems the centre role is to be played by ‘Development’. This process is ultimately the answer to addressing these deprivations. Some models of development have been put into test in recent years, but most of them failed. The reason behind such failure is that the issue of human rights is not blended in a perfect way into the models of development. It cannot be denied that there are some basic intersections between development and human rights. These intersections are the main focus of this research.


This research is based on articles, books and documents found from internet and from library. This is a desktop cantered work, as no field work has been done. The research focuses on the intersection between human rights and development. For better analysis into the topic the concept of human rights and development is analysed briefly.

However this research limited to showing the intersections of human rights and development, no new concepts or models have been suggested in this paper.


This paper is based on various information and analysis regarding Human rights and development, conducted by the eminent scholars, websites relating to the issues of human rights and development process. In this monograph the following questions are of importance:

  1. What are the intersecting points between human rights and development?
  2. What is the importance of the explicit recognition of these intersecting points?
  3. How the intersecting points between human rights and development can provide a better model of development for a developing country like Bangladesh?


First Chapter is the introductory chapter

Second Chapter defines and explains Human Rights, Development and their Interrelations.

Third Chapter- Sixth chapter discuss the Intersecting points between Human Rights and Development. It discusses about the five intersecting points i.e. human rights and development are founded on human dignity; human person is the central subject of both human rights and development; human person should be the principal beneficiary and active participant for the realization of both human rights and development; right to development is also a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights; both have the common objective of human development.

Seventh Chapter discusses about the present situations of the  human rights and development and interrelations in Bangladesh.

Eighth Chapter is the concluding chapter of the thesis.



Human right is one of the most important developments of human being. No matter where people come from, or what their age, culture, religion or income may be, they tend to communicate about their concerns in terms of human rights. It can be said without any hesitation that there is no universally agreed definition of this important term, but the acceptable definition can be that, these are the rights which “derive from the dignity and worth inherent in the human person’ and are universally inherent, inalienable and inviolable rights of all members of the human community. This is definitely not an exhaustive definition because people’s understanding of human rights is a process of evolution.

Rights are related to the values that societies live by. These values have their origins in the world’s great religions and philosophies. Value systems can vary in detail between and society and another but the fundamental ideas are very similar. Concepts of justice and human dignity are at the hearth of these values. These rights come with birth and are applicable to all people throughout the world irrespective of their race, colour, sex, language or political or other opinion. These are, therefore, those rights that are inherent in human person and without which they cannot live as human beings. The words of Jacques Maritain can be mentioned here

“The human person possesses rights because of the very fact that it is a person, a person possesses rights because of the very fact that it is a person, a whole, a master of itself and its acts and which consequently is not merely a means to an end but an end which must be treated as such……these are things which are owed to man because the very fact that he is man.”

Human Rights have two inherent characteristics universal inherence and inalienability.


“Development is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting therefrom”[1]

Amartya Sen and James D. Wolfensohn have pointed out that while researchers have defined development as a process of expanding the freedoms that people enjoy, the World Bank looked at development as a process that ends with freedom from poverty and from other social and economic deprivations. Sen further explains in his book Development as Freedom that development can be seen as a process of expanding the real freedoms that people enjoy. These freedoms are both the primary ends and the principal means of development.

To analyse development we cannot be better guided than by the elements which the UN study on the international dimensions on the right to development[2] identified as forming part of the concept of development are

  • The realizations of the potentialities of the human person in harmony with the community should be seen as the central purpose of development.
  • The human person should be regarded as the subject and not the object of the development process.
  • Development requires the satisfaction of both material and non- material basic needs .
  • Respect for human rights is fundamental to the development process.
  • The human person must be able to participate fully in shaping his own reality.
  • Respect for the principles of equality and non –discrimination is essential, and
  • The achievement of a degree of individual and collective self-reliance must be an integral part of the process.

Development is not a ready found matter rather it is an ongoing process. Debates, discussions and consensus have been going on for more than two decades regarding the relationship between Human Rights and Development. Without protecting the Human Rights, the Development Process cannot succeed. Without assessing the economic, political, cultural and social scenario of a country Human Rights promotions cannot be functioned properly. Declaration on the Right to Development is undoubtedly a document oriented to human rights, and human person has been placed at the central subject of Development and should be the active participant and the beneficiary of the Right to Development.

In the last century various models of development have been proposed for the growth of human civilization. Some of these models proved to be successful at the inception. But after implementing these models, most of them failed to ensure the idea of human development. But the integration of human rights into the development process has proved to be more successful than the previous models. This approach is well known as the Right Based Approach to Development. A right based approach is a conceptual framework for the process of human development that is normatively based on international human rights standards and operationally directed to promoting and protecting human rights. The right based approach integrates the norms, standards and principles of an international human rights system into the plans, policies and processes of development.[3] The above mentioned development models are given below:

Model Ends Address to Human Rights Rights involved Human Rights impact Conditionality Weakness
Basic Needs Protection of basic needs of people in dire need partial Right to food, health, education etc. Other rights are ignored All these model s or elements of them have been widely used as conditional ties No scope for participation of beneficiaries,  not sustainable
Economic Growth Economic growth Very partial Economic, social and cultural rights Deprivation  from important civil and political rights Less participatory, inequality, not sustainable
Good Governance Economic growth No reference of human rights No reference to human rights Cause serious violations of human rights All of the above and non-transparent and arbitrary
Sustainable Development Economic growth and protection of environment Partial Economic, social and cultural rights and right to safe environment Beneficiaries are of important civil and political rights Less participatory
Right Based Approach Sustainable human development Comprehensive All human rights May not be structured to the violations of human rights No condition attached Complex, may not produce good results in political systems other than democracies and in extreme poverty, in countries in political and economic transition


Right Based Approach has been proven to be successful because the concepts of human rights and development have been given equal status and importance in this model and there are some interrelations between human rights and development which cannot be denied. For these interrelations, these concepts of human rights and development can be channelled through one particular development model successfully. These intersections are the core concept of this research paper and analysed later.


From the first UN World Conference on Human Rights, held in Teheran in 1968, the relationship between human rights and development has occupied a prominent place in the international discourse of rights. Almost a decade later, in 1977, the UN Commission on Human Rights gave a new impetus to these efforts by proclaiming the existence of a human right to development. That in turn led to the launching of a major push by developing countries to broaden the focus of international human rights debates to include a range of economic and other issues which had previously been considered to life squarely and exclusively within the domain of the national and international development agencies.[4] In the mid- 1990s the human rights community eager to engage more directly and constructive with their counterparts working on development issues and a movement began to promote rights-based approaches to development. The challenge of ensuring a human rights-based approach to development is thus clearly on the international agenda, but it has to be acknowledged that there is a very long way to go before such approaches becomes the norm.

There are some intersections between human rights and development, and this is the base of this paper, these are:

·         Both are founded on human dignity;

·         Human person is the central subject of both;

·         Human person should be the principal beneficiary and active participant for the realization of both;

·         Right to development is also a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights;

·         Both have the common objective of human development.


Dignity means being respected for who we are and what we believe in. It is often used to suggest that someone is not receiving a proper degree of respect, or even that they are failing to treat themselves with proper self-respect. All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights[5]. Living with dignity and without fear are basic human needs. It includes adequate decent food, water and health, freedom from slavery, fair treatment under the law, a shelter, etc. These basic human needs and values are at the foundation of universal ideas of human rights. This argument can be best understood from the American Declaration of Independence, the whole instrument is based on human dignity and it recognizes the necessity of human dignity and upholds it by stating that

“We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their creator with certain inalienable rights that among these are life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness. That to secure these rights, governments are instituted among men, deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed. That whenever any form of government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it.”

On the other hand, Human Rights are rights which persons hold by virtue of the human condition. They have originated from human dignity, as explicitly declared in Universal Declaration of Human Rights, “Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, Colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.” They are about recognizing the value and dignity of all people, about ideas of respect, fairness, freedoms, justice and equality. Among these rights and freedoms some are always expected to expand to make the human life more comfortable. Here development comes into act. The main object of development is to create an environment in which people can expand and enjoy their freedoms and live a healthy and creative life. These freedoms are both the primary ends and the principal means of development. They include freedom to participate in the economy, which implies access to credit, among other facilities; freedom of political expression and participation; social opportunities, including entitlement to education and health services; transparency guarantees, involving freedom to deal with others openly; and protective security guaranteed by social safety nets, such as unemployment insurance or famine relief.[6]

Humans are the real wealth of a nation[7]. This simple fact can be proved if we think of the situation of a nation without citizens. A nation can neither be formed without people; neither can exist without its citizens. Development enhances the choices of the citizens to live a life with dignity, rather than merely to some of the means that play a prominent role in development. For instance, economic development is a means to improve the social, cultural and political instruments of the society. But it also has the responsibility to eradicate Poverty, deprivation, tyranny, poor economic opportunities, intolerance, and lack of productive employment, which are an offence to human dignity. Economic development is a means to remove these problems. In the Declaration on Social Progress and Development, 1969, it is stated that,

 “Social progress and development shall be founded on respect for the dignity and value of the human person and shall ensure the recognition and effective implementation of civil and political rights as well as of economic, social and cultural rights without any discrimination”.

This instrument goes even further and asserts that all the people and all human beings, without distinction as to race, colour, sex language, religion, nationality, ethnic, origin, family or social status, or political or other conviction, shall have the right to live in dignity and freedom and to enjoy the fruits of social progress and should, on their part, contribute to it.[8]

Again, the sole purpose of human rights is to ensure the respect for human dignity. The universality of human rights not only refers to their universal applicability but also demands universal conditions under which human rights can be realized. So, where the process of development is inadequate, the human rights cannot flourish to ensure human dignity, leading to disrespect of human dignity. This view was reinforced at the UN world conferences of the early 1990s. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights, which was adopted on 25 June 1993 by all 171 participating states, dedicates several paragraphs to this topic, focusing on the interdependence and mutual reinforcement of democracy, human rights, and development, asking for international cooperation and support in the development process, and for effective development policies on the national and international level.[9] This instrument also suggests that social progress and development shall be founded on respect for the dignity and value of the human person.[10] The UN while adopting United Nations Millennium Declaration recognized that, it has a collective responsibility to uphold the principles of human dignity, equality and equity at the global level.[11]

Without a basic element which separates a human being from the animals i.e., dignity, the purpose of both human rights and development shall fail. All the works that has been made for ensuring human rights have a common goal, and that is to uphold human dignity in the every corner of the planet. The human rights that are under review in today’s world in most of the cases uphold human dignity expressly; if it is not the case then such right loses its acceptability in the society. The process of development does not prima facie upholds human dignity, as there are different forms of development, but when the development process is carried on for human development, then such development process must keep the idea of human development in place. This view can be supported by the instrument as has been analysed above. So it can be said that, both human rights and development uphold human dignity, without this basic concept both right and development loses its focus and purpose.


There is no word which can deny that human person is the central subject of the both and should be the principle beneficiary and the active participant for the realization of both. No other creatures but the human beings have been blessed with intellect and creativity. And it is assumed in good faith that those intellects and creativities shall be applied to the betterment of those who are less fortunate and by those who have been treasured with wealth. The preamble of the Declaration on the Right to Development clearly states:

“Recognizing that the human person is the central subject of the development process and that development policy should therefore make the human being the main participant and beneficiary of development.”

Again, it is clarified by sheer words that human persons are the central subject of human rights and international human rights instruments are created to benefit the human beings and human beings only. The genesis of all human rights document, The Declaration of Human Rights, in its fifth paragraph of the preamble states that:

“Whereas the peoples of the United Nations have in the Charter reaffirmed their faith in fundamental human rights, in the dignity and worth of the human person and in the equal rights of men and women and have determined to promote social progress and better standards of life in larger freedoms…”

The concept of human rights itself contains the word human, so it does not need further elaboration that human beings are the centre subject of human rights. If we look into the history of human rights, it is evident that the term human rights has been used for the protection of certain basic civil and political rights of human being, which they are entitled for the sole reason that he/she is a human being. So it can be said without any concern that human is the centre and arguably the only subject of human rights.

It leaves no room to doubt that the human beings are the one and only concern of both Development and Human Development as far as international instruments are in action. Human wellbeing is the ultimate end of all development[12] and the human rights are the preconditions of human wellbeing. Development without human wellbeing is meaningless. This view is evident by the recent development experience as pointed out by the human development report. The survey shows that: many fast growing developing countries are discovering their high GNP growth rates have failed to reduce socio-economic deprivation of substantial section of their population. Even the industrialized countries are realizing that high income is no protection against the rapid spread of such problems as drugs, alcoholism, aids, homelessness, violence and the breakdown of family relation. At the same time low income countries have demonstrated that it is possible to achieve high levels of human development if they skilfully use the available means to expand basic human capabilities.

Economic growth is essential for human development. The attainment of human rights requires the support of economic development while economic and social development provides the basis for the general attainment of human rights. Only by means of development can we fully achieve the rights to decent living standards, social security and education. Human rights cannot be fully realized without development. Development depends also on other determinants, such as social and economic arrangements such as facilities for education and health care as well as political and civil rights.

Aristotle also warned against judging societies merely by such things as income and wealth that are sought not for themselves but desired as means to other objectives. Wealth is evidently not the good we are seeking, for it is merely useful and for the sake of something else.

But development will not bring about the attainment of human rights automatically. Only by defining human rights as the fundamental goal of development can it become a process of realizing human rights. Previous concepts of development have often given exclusive attention to economic growth rather than human development, which offers a much broader and more inclusive perspective. All the previous models i.e. basic needs ,economic growth, good governance, sustainable development had contributed a little in human wellbeing and consequently had a little success in the context of human development. So the development actors were looking for such a model which could integrate the human rights in its development policies.

Development’s main focus should be the improvements of people’s lives. People must be at the center of human development. Development has to be woven around people, not people around development. As suggested by the Human Development Report 1991, development has to be of the people by the people, for the people.

 Development of the Peopleevery society must invest in the education, health, nutrition and social well-being of its people, so that they can play their full role in the country’s economic, political and social life. With more emphasis now being placed on the market and on technological progress, the development of people will make an increasingly critical contribution to economic success.

If development depends not only on the spontaneous play of market forces but also on human development by any approach for the realization of the objectives of development, then the approach would be regarded as superior

Development by the Peoplethrough Appropriate Structures of Decision-making People must participate fully in the planning and implementation of development strategies. These strategies should provide sufficient Opportunities for income and employment growth that human capabilities are properly used and human creativity is given its full expressions.

Development for the People– development must satisfy everyone’s needs, and provide opportunities for all. Only then will it be truly human-oriented. This would also include providing essential social safety nets. Thus, it is that development increases people’s choices-with two caveats. First, enhancing the choices of one individual, or one section of society, should not restrict the policies of another. Thus calls for equity in human relationships. Second, improving the lives of the present generation should not mortgage the choices for future generations that the development process must be sustainable.

On the other hand, Participation is a right of the people. It is not optional gift to be bestowed to citizens by governments. Neither do governments have the prerogative to determine the purpose, form and extent of participation without reference to those concerned. Participation requires the right of self–determination which implies that the people have the right to determine their path of development. For this, they need other human rights, above all the rights to education and to information. Participation is recognized as having a central and decisive role in development models. Article 1 of the Declaration on the Right to Development stresses in it that by virtue of their inalienable right to development every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in and contribute to and enjoy development. It clarifies that development policies can be legitimate only if they are predicated upon the active, free and meaningful participation of the people. Therefore, Participation in a human rights approach includes control of planning, process, outcome and evaluation. In this perspective, participation respects the fundamental human rights tenet that people are the subjects, the active players, who determine and freely pursue their economic, social and cultural development. Participation in this sense demands democracy and strong civil society and conversely strengthens civil society and democracy.[13]

At present, the economic system of the world espoused by the multilateral lending corporations has limited the policy choices of the developing cou8ntry governments. These governments have to obey the fiscal imperatives in order to receive aid packages. Parliamentary and public debates have become irrelevant as most of the negotiations and agreements are made in closed door decisions. These issues are limiting the public participations, leading to the violation of human right.

The UN General Assembly adopted the Declaration on the Right to Development in 1986. The declaration defines development as a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well–being of the entire population and of all individuals on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development and in the fair distribution of benefits resulting from it. The definition emphasizes the importance of participation. The participation of all individuals in development must be active, free and meaningful. The right of individuals and peoples to participate in and contribute to, and enjoy development must be insured. Women must have an active role in the development process. Education should enable all persons to participate effectively in a free society.

From the above analysis it can be concluded that, all the human rights orbits around human being, and human is the sole centre subject of human rights. Human being is not only the centre subject of human rights but also the primary beneficiary and active participant in this regard. On the other hand development is a comprehensive economic, social, cultural and political process, which aims at the constant improvement of the well-being of the entire human race on the basis of their active, free and meaningful participation in development.[14] Thus both human rights and development have a common beneficiary, participant and both orbits around a same subject i.e. Human being.


Right to Development has been first recognised as a human right, unequivocally, in The Declaration on the Right to Development[15] in its very first Article which states:

The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are 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”.

In the 1970s and 1980s the Right to Development was introduced as one of several rights belonging to a third “generation” of human rights.[16] According to this view, the first generation consisted of civil and political rights conceived as freedom from state abuse.

Though the definition of Right to Development is clear enough in this Article but for the time being and keeping in mind other international instruments of the like it is necessary to provide a vivid clarification on what the Right to Development actually stands for.

As an answer to the Right to Developments true nature it can be said that –

 “…about the nature of the right to development. If it is seen as a document on human rights evolving from the process of the human rights movement, it can be given an interpretation that can be most helpful for its realization.”[17]

The Right to Development has been part of the international debate on human rights for over thirty years[18] but has not yet entered the practical realm of development planning and implementation. States tend to express rhetorical support for this right but neglect its basic precepts in development practice. Paradoxically, the United States opposes or is reluctant to recognize development as an international human right, and yet the current administration has proposed to nearly double its development spending under a program that is strikingly similar to the international Right to Development model.[19]

Now a fair enough question arises that, why has it been so hard to secure a consensus on this subject so far? Are the differences due to some misunderstandings in interpretations of these texts, or are they due to some deeper conflict between the political and economic groups affected by the process?

This Research Monographer’s approach to this question would be the political discourse of the various working groups on the Right to Development and the Commission on Human Rights is often characterized by predictable posturing of political positions rather than practical dialogue on the implementation of the Right to Development. It emerged from the legitimate preoccupation of newly independent countries with problems of development and the dominance of East-West issues on the agenda of the Commission on Human Rights, marginalizing the concerns of the political South, except for racial discrimination, apartheid, and foreign occupation, which did receive special consideration. Efforts to use the U.N. to advance the idea of a New International Economic Order (NIEO) had emboldened Third World delegations. “But the challenge to the prevailing order favoring Western industrialized countries generated a reaction that ranged from cautious support among Western European delegations to outright hostility for the idea of a human Right to Development from the United States and a few others.

A group has been made up of countries in transition and developed nations that tend to support the Right to Development as a vehicle to improve the dialogue between developed and developing countries and would like to see some progress made in implementing this right. This group, particularly the European Union, sometimes expresses skepticism and occasionally sees its role in the Commission as damage-limitation. They will go along with a resolution if nothing particularly objectionable is inserted or will abstain.

The other group, in which the United States is almost always the key protagonist, votes against these resolutions. The other members of this group vary according to circumstances and have included Japan, Denmark, and Australia, along with smaller countries under the influence of the United States.

However, a breakthrough occurred on April 22, 1998, when the U.N. Commission on Human Rights adopted by consensus a resolution on the Right to Development[20] recommending to the Economic and Social Council the establishment of a follow up mechanism consisting of an open-ended working group (OEWG) and an Independent Expert. The purpose of the working group was to monitor and review the progress of the Independent Expert and report back to the Commission. The Independent Expert was to “present to the working group at each of its sessions a study on the current state of progress in the implementation of the right to development as a basis for a focused discussion, taking into account, inter alia, the deliberations and suggestions of the working group.[21] Dr. Arjun Sengupta, a prominent Indian economist, was appointed Independent Expert and by 2004 had produced eight reports, while the OEWG had held five sessions. He suggests the following four main propositions of the Declaration on the Right To Development:

(A) The right to development is a human right.

(B) The human right to development is right to a particular process of development in which all         human rights and fundamental freedoms can be fully realize, which means that it combines all the rights enshrined in both the covenants and each of the rights has to be exercised with freedom.

(C) The meaning of exercising these rights consistently with freedom implies free, effective, and full participation of all the individuals concerned in the decision making and the implementation of the process.

(D) The right confers unequivocal obligation on duty holders i.e. individual in the society, states in the national and international level.[22]

Thirty-two years have elapsed since the Right to Development was publicly proposed as a human right,[23] eighteen years since the General Assembly officially recognized this right in a Declaration,15 eleven years since a consensus involving all governments was reached on the Right to Development,[24] and six years since the OEWG and the position of Independent Expert were established. A considerable body of commentary has appeared in support of the Declaration, mainly in legal and human rights publications,[25] including those by the Independent Experts,[26] but critical and skeptical views have also emerged in legal and political writings.[27]

Therefore it can be mentioned that though Right to Development is also an inalienable and universal Human Rights, but they, in their full form, do not exist in reality. They have been made petrified only in texts.


Human development is a process of enlarging people’s choices. The most important among these choices are to live a long and healthy life, to be educated and to have access to resources needed for a decent standard of living life. Other choices include political freedom, guaranteed human rights and personal self-respect.[28]  From 1990 to 2011, the HDRs applied the concept of human development to identify and advocate policies. Basically, it’s a process of enlarging people’s choices.[29] Human needs are limitless, but human development means when, in addition to already expressed rights, people get political freedom, guaranteed human rights and personal self-respect. The 1994 report,[30] on Human Security, introduced sustainability of outcomes across time: “the purpose of development is to create an environment in which all people can expand their capabilities, and opportunities can be enlarged for both present and future generations.”[31] The 2005 report on International Cooperation[32] mentioned human development as follows:

“Human development is about freedom. It is about building human capabilities—the range of things that people can do, and what they can be. Individual freedoms and rights matter a great deal, but people are restricted in what they can do with that freedom if they are poor, ill, illiterate, discriminated against, threatened by violent conflict or denied a political voice.”[33]

Therefore, it can be said that they are being part of Human Development when they can freely use their freedom of expression in political arenas, get higher education and by using their intellect and creativity earned from that education, live a polite life, notwithstanding the guarantee of happiness, for it is relative. Human Development is complemented by a number of conceptual frameworks that share similar underlying motivations, but have different emphases, and add value in different ways.

Human Development therefore is concerned about those rights which are being made more advanced. In human development, mere Right to food transforms into right to nutritious meals, mere right to shelter becomes right to a decent house and right to education converts into right to higher education.

Thus, Human development has two sides: the formation of human capabilities such as improved health, knowledge and skills – and the use people make of their acquired capabilities – for leisure, productive purposes or being active in cultural, social and political affairs. If the scales of human development do not finely balance the two sides, considerable human frustration may result.

These choices which ensure human development can be found in UDHR, ECE and ESE rights. These are common standards of achievement for all peoples and all nations, to the end that every individual and every organ of society, and they shall strive by teaching and education to promote respect for these rights and freedoms and by progressive measures, national and international, to secure their universal and effective recognition and observance. The choices which ensure human development are covered by human rights instruments. These instruments do not only stop in this point but also ensures that all the other choices which are sine qua nons for human development are recognized. The instrument containing provisions of human rights also leaves opportunities for the people to incorporate these rights into actual play. And thus it can be said that human development is definitely an important objective of human rights.

On the other side of the coin, all the international human rights instruments are concerned about development of people of the humankind, in other words, human development, though in limited versions, where in human development these rights are made advanced. The mother of all International Human Rights Documents, “The Universal Declaration of Human Rights”, from which two more instruments e. g. “The International Covenant of Civil and Political Rights” and “The International Covenant of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights” have generated, basically focus on these limited versions of human development. For example, the latter mentioned documents talk about basic freedom of speech, education, shelter, food etc through which they tend to achieve Human Development. But through the time being concepts have changed and now human development means something larger.

An important achievement in establishing the relationship between human rights and development were the so-called ‘Millennium Development Goals’ (MDGs). At the UN Millennium Summit in 2000, world leaders agreed upon a set of time-bound and measurable goals and targets for combating poverty, hunger, disease, illiteracy, environmental degradation and discrimination against women. These goals aim at achieving measurable progress in a number of specific fields which are considered essential for human development and several lead to increased enjoyment of human rights, such as primary education. The goals provide a framework for development co-operation institutions to work coherently together towards a common end. Close co-operation is imperative as a large majority of nations can only reach the MDGs with substantial support from outside. Progress toward the MDGs is being measured on a regular basis.[34]

Development processes – traditionally technical and economically orientated – are becoming increasingly focused on enjoyment of rights and promotion of values. One of the most important aspects of this approach is the increased recognition of poverty as one of the greatest barriers to the universal enjoyment of human rights. HRBA (Human Rights Based Approach), which is the most effective amongst development models, aims for sustainable outcomes by analyzing and addressing the inequalities, discriminatory practices and unjust power relations which are often at the heart of development problems.[35] The sole reason that HRBA is the most acceptable model is that this model focuses into development without compromising the opportunity of human rights.

While discussing about relationship between human rights and human development, the works of Amarta Sen is worth mentioning, as he has been one of the important contributors to highlight the significance of human rights in development. Human rights is one of the key concepts, along with capabilities and functioning, entitlements, and fundamental freedom, that Sen has used in defining the ultimate ends of development as expansion of capabilities and human freedom.  Sen’s capability and human development approach provided a useful conceptual framework within which human rights principles could be incorporated. In this way, human development and human rights then share a common motivation i.e. expansion of human freedom. Thus it can be inferred that the ultimate object of human rights is human development, by ensuring an environment where a human being can flourish his capabilities to the highest extent. On the other hand though not all form of development prima facie bears the idea of human development, but none the less a philosophical approach towards ultimate objective of development will drive us towards human development. Thus it can be safely said that both human rights and development shares a same objective i.e. human development.


Though 41 years has passed since the independence of Bangladesh, nothing much has changed, as it should be for the length of time that has passed. People’s struggle for establishing Human Rights and Development by brushing aside anomalies is always there in this part of the world. But unfortunately, the polity is yet to overcome the barriers to human rights and development. Though International Monetary Fund (IMF)’s regular publication “Poverty Related Strategy Paper” sometimes tries to state that Bangladesh’s Human Rights condition is getting better day by day, but it is a mere blasphemy. Many scholars even mention it as “Poverty Related Satire Paper”, as these so called developments exist only in paper and they make fun out of the people whose rights has been infringed every day. Five Reasons can be cursed for such poor condition of Human Rights and Development i. e. pitiable knowledge of the Human Rights and Development Non Governmental Organizations (NGO’s), De-centralized development of Human rights made by the Governments from time to time, Reluctancy of the politicians to pay heed in this particular arena from a practical and constitutional view, Nepotism in both private and governmental sectors of employment and a Profane Human Rights Commission.

Now this Research Monograph will enlarge these abovementioned five reasons:


There are 28, 600 NGO’s working in Bangladesh, and most of them work in the villages, 27,000 registered with MSA, 1600 with NAB. The main problem is that the human rights and development related NGO’s do not operate with people who have sufficient expertise. It has been seen that the Human Rights Related Ngo’s do not even know that Human development is an integral part of it; and on the other hand, the human Development Ngo’s lacks knowledge that without ensuring human rights, human development cannot be produced. They have lack in sharing views and experiences also. NGOs in Bangladesh are engaged in diverse activities – the same NGO may be involved in multiple areas of operation. Micro-credit is one of most common and increasingly popular type of operation of NGOs because of the success of the model in reaching the poor, especially women, but also for the reason that it has also become a legally endorsed income generating activity helping development and sustainability of the NGOs themselves. Other popular programs include education, health, family planning, environment, human rights, women and children welfare, etc.

However, the key problems can be summarized as below:

  • Ineffective Governing Body
  • Discretion of the Executive Head in decision making process
  • Lack of Transparency in Finance
  • Institutional Anomalies
  • Procurement-Related Anomalies
  • Usurping Employees’ Salary
  • Corruption in Recruitment & Promotion

These are the common problems which restrain human rights and development related NGO’s operating in Bangladesh.


From time to time, whenever a Government has come as the executive body, they focus on the Capital city only. Though the nation’s area from which the Head of State, the Prime Minister and other influential persons in the body has come from has seen some development, though still, human rights conditions in those areas remain poor. For this reason, people from all around the country come to Dhaka, the capital city of the country for earning their bread, now has become a mega city and living in which has now-a-days means struggling. De-centralization of development is thus a total failure in Bangladesh.


The Constitution of Bangladesh nowhere contains any instruments of development, and as it has been seen, the politicians are never concerned about this matter. Especially the Parliamentarians, instead about discussing about these matters and making laws under them, engage themselves in waste of time by pampering the prime minister or scolding the opposition party/parties.

It will be better if there is no Fundamental Principles of State Policy in our constitution, as it creates a division among human rights. But there should not be any division among human rights. This division was created by the countries participated in the Cold War.



Analyzing the information received from workers, employees and key-informants, the overall scenario of the problems of lack of human rights observance and development has been summarized below:

  • Employees/consultants are recruited according to the unilateral choice of the chief executive.
  • Recruitment and promotion are found to take place on the basis of nepotism and personal relationship with the chief executive. Examples of financial transaction were also evident in some recruitment.
  • Selection process often lacks transparency – selection board takes place to recruit a preselected candidate.
  • Recruitment is often influenced upon recommendations from the donor, politicians, government officials, or other influential persons.
  • Many professionals including journalists are employed without maintaining the due recruitment procedure.
  • In many cases retired government officials are employed, who allegedly use their connections for undue advantage.
  • New position is often created for appointing people on the basis of personal relationship or recommendation.
  • Organizational decision is taken only by the executive head; participation of employees is ignored.
  • Many times decision is taken to promote organizational interest of that of the executive head, without considering the need of the beneficiaries/service recipients.
  • Concentration of power into the hands of Chief Executive renders him/her owner of the office in the eyes of the employees.

And thus nepotism throws away the respect to human rights and development.


The Bangladesh Human Rights Commission was established by Bangladesh’s caretaker Government on 1 September 2008. According to the former President of Bangladesh, Dr Iajuddin Ahmed, this Commission will

“Play a significant role in establishing a culture of respect for Human Rights with the co-operation of all concerned including the civil society, the public and private organisations.”[36]

But this promise has been an utter failure. The National human Rights Commission has been playing a silent role until recently. But still, no effective result has come out, no extra-judicial killing or killing of Bangladeshi people in the No Man’s Land has stopped. The commission has been enacted by the “National Human Rights Commission Ordinance 2007”. But the law itself has huge loopholes which makes the commission a mere camouflage, for an example, the Commission is barred from taking interest into those matters which are already in judicial process. But many human rights like right to property, right to a fair trial, right to be free are being infringed. Therefore such steps has to be taken by which the loopholes mentioned earlier should be cleared.


Therefore it can be concluded that there are some important intersections between human rights and development, as human rights are granted for human for the point of them being human. On the other hand the ultimate object of development surrounds around human. Some of the countries tried to ensure this topic separately, but for the developing countries, this often proves to be a hurdle, because in order to achieve development, human rights being silent. Bangladesh has proved to be a burning example in this regard. Both the concepts are in a stage of evolution, so a perfect model or way to achieve the ultimate destination of human development is yet to be discovered. But the search must carry on until the world we live in, is free from deprivation.

[1] Preamble to the Declaration on the Right to Development, 1986.

[2] UN doc.E/CN.4/1334.para.27

[3] Mary Robinson, A voice for Human Rights, University of Pennsylvania Press, 2006, page-303

[4] The Challenges of Ensuring the Mutuality of Human Rights and Development Endeavours, Phillip Alston and Mary Robinson.

[5] The universal declaration on human rights, 1948, article- 1

[6]Amartya Sen, Development as Freedom, Oxford University Press,2000

[7] as opined in the Human Development Report 1990.

[8] Declaration on Social Progress and Development 1969

[9]See World Conference on Human Rights, Vienna, 14-25 June 1993, Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, A/CONF.157/23, § I:8, 9, 10, 12, 14 (12 July 1993).

[10] The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights Article- 2.

[11] The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action of the World Conference on Human Rights Article- 1.

[12]Human Development Report 1990

[13]Op. cit. p. 120.

[14] Preamble to Declaration on the Right to Development.

[15] Adopted by General Assembly resolution 41/128 of 4 December 1986

[16] 4. Stephen P. Marks, Emerging Human Rights: A New Generation for the 1980’s?, 33 Rutgers L. Rev. 435, 435–52 (1981).

[17] Arjun Sengupta

[18] See Philip Alston, Making Space for New Human Rights: The Case of the Right to Development, 1 Harv. Hum. Rts. Y.B. 3, 20 (1988).

[19] François-Xavier Bagnoud. Professor of Health and Human Rights, Harvard School of Public Health. The author is director of the François-Xavier Bagnoud Center, where he also directs the Right to Development Project

[20] Commission on Human Rights Res. 72, U.N. ESCOR, 44th Sess., Supp. No. 3, at 229, U.N. Doc. E/CN.4/1998/177 (1998).

[21] Id. at 233


Arjun Sengupta, “The Right to Development as a Human Right”.

[23] See supra note 5.

[24] See Vienna Declaration, supra note 7, at ¶¶ 10, 11, 72 and 73.

[25] In this abundant literature, the following are particularly useful: Alston, supra note 3; Russell Barsh, The Right to Development as a Human Right: Results of the Global Consultation, 13 Hum. Rts. Q. 322, 322–38 n.3 (1991); N.J. Udombana, The Third World and the Right to Development: Agenda for the Next Millennium, 22 Hum. Rts. Q. 753, 753–87 (2000); Upendra Baxi, The Development of the Right to Development, in Mambrino’s Helmet?: Human Rights for a Changing World, 22, 22–32 (Har-Anand Publications 1994); Tatjana Ansbach et al., The Right to Development in International Law (Subrata Roy Chowdhury et al. eds., Martinus Nijhoff Publishers 1992); James C.N. Paul, The Human Right to Development: Its Meaning and Importance, 25 J. Marshall L. Rev. 235, 235–65 (1992); Anne Orford, Globalization and the ‘Right to Development,’ in People’s Rights 127, 127–84 (Oxford U. Press, 2001).

[26] Arjun Sengupta, Realizing the Right to Development, 31 Dev. and Change 3, 553 (2000); Arjun Sengupta, Right to Development as a Human Right, Econ. & Pol. Wkly., July 7, 2001, at 2527; Arjun Sengupta, Theory and Practice on the Right to Development, 24 Hum. Rts. Q. 837 (2002); Arjun Sengupta, Implementing the Right to Development, in Sustainable Development and Human Rights (Nico Schrijver ed., 2002); Arjun Sengupta, Development Co-operation and the Right to Development, in Human Rights and Criminal Justice for the Downtrodden. Essays in Honour of Asbjørn Eide 371 (Morton Bergsmo ed., 2003) [hereinafter Sengupta, Development Co-operation and the Right to Development].

[27] See, e.g., Jack Donnelly, In Search of the Unicorn: The Jurisprudence and Politics of the Right to Development, 15 Cal. W. Int’l L.J. 473 (1985).

[28] Overview of the 1990 Human Development Report.

[29] Human Development Report, 1990.

[30] UNDP 1994

[31] UNDP 1994: p13

[32] UNPD 2005: p18

[33] UNPD 2004: p7

[34] project/humanrightscasesandmaterials/humanrightsconceptsideasandfora/humanrightsinrlationtoothertopics/humanrightsanddevelopment/

[35] Ibid.