The Right to Development is the right to be heard, acknowledged and implemented!

By Ramya Kudekallu, World YWCA Programme Associate. Ramya recently attended the 24th Human Rights Council and spoke on a panel.

With less than a thousand days left until the end of the current MDGs, world leaders are being pressured into working on the post 2015 Development Agenda.  I was absolutely ecstatic to be invited as a speaker at the side event ‘International Youth Leadership in the Right to Development’ at the Human Rights Council’s 24th Session currently taking place.

Ramya 2

Ramya Kudekallu

The event was sponsored by the National Alliance of Women’s Organisations UK,  and the Ariel Foundation International, and co-sponsored by the World YWCA and Inter-African Committee on Practices Affecting the Health of Women and Girls. The event had the support of the Right to Development Office and UHCHR Institute for Shipboard Education.

I believe the right to development is simply the ownership of human rights. The Declaration to the right to Development passed by the General Assembly uses powerful language such as ‘Promoting and encouraging respect of human rights’, ‘free and meaningful participation’ and ‘fundamental freedoms.’  But the reality is that over half of our world’s population neither has access nor is aware of these possibilities.

The amazing thing about the World YWCA is that the essence of its work lies in the voices of young women. We prioritise young women’s leadership and take great measures to include reflections, suggestions and strategies from young women from all the regions of our global movement. It is important that these messages find places amongst local, regional and international platforms of advocacy. To fully satisfy the access to the right to development, it is critical we recognise the challenges young people face and find the APPROPRIATE solutions.

The World YWCA resource ‘The Future Young Women Want- Global Call To Act’ is a fantastic reference to what young women from across our movement want to see in the Post 2015 development agenda.  Many of these recommendations are around ending violence against women, access to sexual and reproductive health rights, facilitation for young women to be on decision making platforms and free non discriminative access to education, economic empowerment and resources.

The UNDP report on the MDG acknowledges that gender inequality is mediated through a number of channels ranging from social-economical suppressions to harmful traditional and cultural practices. This is where the YWCA steps in with its active work with young women so that we may find the courage and tools within ourselves and around us to hold our governments accountable.

As a law graduate, it is always a privilege to make any kind of recommendation at the Human Rights Council. The World YWCA has a profound way of creating opportunities and allowing the potential for growth.  I hope our world leaders come to sound conclusions and that the next era of social justice and development surpasses the previous.