Human Rights and the Post-2015 Development Agenda

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The post-2015 development agenda, notes guest blogger Micheal Nelson Byaruhanga, works to achieve human rights for all people, but it must ensure that people understand their rights, too.

The United Nations’ post-2015 development agenda promotes the conservation of fundamental human rights. Notably, much focus in the post-2015 development agenda is put on health, poverty and education. Arguing about the impact of these goals without strong consideration of human rights is like measuring without units.

We can consider HIV/ AIDS under the health sector as a case study. Here, we find lots of rights endangered: the right to privacy, to equal opportunities, to live without discrimination and to appropriate protection in social security.

How the United Nations’ agenda prevents violations of these rights can determine the success of the post-2015 development agenda.

Because education helps people understand the disease and facilitate changes in certain behaviors, for example, failure to protect the right to education can create increased risks of transmission of the disease. Children, women, migrants, commercial sex workers and drug addicts often fall victim to this situation.

To prevent diseases like HIV/AIDS, people need to learn how to practice safe sex and how and why to be responsible of their bodies in addition to get themselves tested. The question is, “to what extend has the UN embarked on the protections of human rights to ensure successful education of the above risks in fighting HIV?”

Illiteracy and poverty are affects of human rights violations, too. In nations where exercising fundamental rights are crimes against the state, the only thing people can do to understand their rights is to read about them.

Political oppression and authoritarianism do not contribute to development, literacy and innovation. The politicos successfully control the masses, and people are forced to accept the lack of their rights – some do not even know to what rights they are entitled.


Those in charge deny the right to education and innovation, and so the lie creates a platform conducive to manipulation. There cannot be national cohesion or social well-being without good leadership.

So one determinant in measuring the impacts of the post-2015 development agenda should be political. The prominent questions of concern here must be: has the agenda helped people to understand and acknowledge their own right to good leadership? Is the people’s citizenship more defined by their engagement with the leadership and not by their fellowship to the leadership?

Having good leadership is a right, too, and if it is for the people and by the people, it can facilitate the protection of human rights against all exploitation. Surely, where good leadership is a right and not a privilege, there is peace. Where there is peace, people live in dignity.

Our efforts must be channeled to focus on establishing a transparent political atmosphere within all nations of the world. It becomes a challenge to the UN General Assembly to achieve their agenda while creating this environment of change.

Article and photos submitted by Micheal Nelson Byaruhanga, 22, a Ugandan human rights activist, freelance journalist and a founder of Child Soldiers Foundation of Africa. Follow him on Twitter @nlsnmicheal90.

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The views, opinions and positions expressed by the authors and those providing comments on these blogs are theirs alone, and do not necessarily reflect the opinions or positions of Peace Child International.

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