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Wednesday, 28 October 2015

Align goals to human rights

The Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam)

THE Human Rights Commission of Malaysia (Suhakam) welcomes the official adoption of a new international framework, “Transforming Our World: The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development”, at the United Nations Sustainable Development Summit on Sept 25. 

This comprehensive, far-reaching and people-centred set of universal and transformative goals comprise 17 sustainable development goals (SDGs) and 169 targets that seek to guide international development, priorities and collaboration up to 2030 to end poverty, fight inequality and injustice, and tackle climate change. 

The 2030 agenda, which strongly reflects human rights principles and standards, is guided by the purposes and principles of the Charter of the United Nations, which includes full respect for international law, and is further grounded in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, among others. All UN member states, including Malaysia, are therefore expected to use the SDGs to frame their agendas and policies over the next 15 years.

 As human rights are essential to achieve sustainable development, Suhakam believes that a human rights-based approach can enhance and guide national strategies for achieving the SDGs domestically. 

SDGs are inextricably linked to human rights through the following goals: CONCERNING ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS Quite a few goals place emphasis on the importance of economic and social rights, such as poverty (Goal 1); food security and improved nutrition (Goal 2); health and well-being (Goal 3); quality education (Goal 4); and water and sanitation (Goal 6); which are all enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). 

Suhakam advises the government to accede to the ICESCR as soon as possible in order to be guided by a normative framework, reinforced by universally recognised values in implementing national policies to effectively achieve the SDGs. CONCERNING CIVIL AND POLITICAL RIGHTS SDG 16 relates to access to justice for all, and its targets include the end of trafficking, promoting the rule of law, reducing corruption, ensuring the right to information, and the protection of fundamental freedoms, among others. This recognises the inevitable link between civil and political rights, and achieving sustainable development. 

Accordingly, Suhakam advises the government to promptly accede to the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights to assist Malaysia in successfully implementing the 2030 Agenda with the continued and expanding participation of all stakeholders. Reducing inequalities is also one of 17 Goals of the 2030 Agenda (Goal 10). National policies must now aim to be universal in principle, while paying attention to the needs of disadvantaged and marginalised populations, such as the Orang Asal/ Orang Asli.

In fully realising the 2030 Agenda, Suhakam is committed to promoting the human rights dimensions of the SDGs by, among others, providing education to all stakeholders, including relevant ministries, parliamentarians and civil society. Suhakam also hopes to advise the government on the human rights compatibility of domestic policies that may be implemented to realise the SDGs. 

Suhakam stresses that achieving the SDGs, which comes into effect on Jan 1 next year, by 2030, will require collaboration within government agencies. Furthermore, placing human rights accountability at the nucleus of the SDGs is crucial in ensuring that commitments made by Malaysia at international level are honoured in practice. 

Suhakam hopes that the agenda will be embraced across all ministries and integrated into national planning and policies, including in the National Human Rights Action Plan after consultative processes with multi-stakeholders. Suhakam stresses that the role of the commission, private sector and civil society are crucial to fully implementing the SDG agenda. 

Read More : (Oct 28, 2015)

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