Elements of a Theory of the Right to Development<sup>*</sup>

Arjun Sengupta

in Arguments for a Better World: Essays in Honor of Amartya Sen

Published in print December 2008 | ISBN: 9780199239115
Published online May 2009 | e-ISBN: 9780191716935 | DOI:
Elements of a Theory of the Right to Development*

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This chapter spells out the characteristics of the Right to Development, adopted by the 1986 UN Declaration as an international human right. It builds on the six questions identified by Sen as essential for understanding any theory of human rights, regarding importance and universality of human rights, corresponding duties and obligations, methods of protecting and promoting human rights, including justiciability and the place of economic, social, and cultural rights within human rights. The chapter demonstrates that recognizing RTD as a composite of different rights — which improves if any of these rights improve while no right deteriorates — facilitates its implementation by identifying the obligations corresponding to the component rights and their coordination as a development policy. It further argues that such a development policy can be seen as Sen's notion of meta-right, with the identification of duty-bearers with specific obligations. This would facilitate the operationalization of RTD according to human rights standards and allow corresponding obligations including those of the international community to be clearly delineated.

Keywords: RTD; Right to Development; human rights; meta-right; duty-bearer; duties; obligations-binding; perfect; imperfect; justiciability

Chapter.  9984 words. 

Subjects: Economic Development and Growth

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