The Franciscans and Dominicans yesterday called on the top UN human rights body to set up a high-level task force on the right to development (RTD) and said it should focus primarily on the needs of people suffering from poverty, marginalisation, and disease. In a statement at the 60th UN Commission on Human Rights (CHR), Franciscans International, the Dominicans for Justice and Peace and Minority Rights Group International, said experts from various fields, including finance and trade, should comprise such a group. "We believe that the task force's mandate and composition are of crucial importance," said Fr John Quigley OFM, Director of the FI office in Geneva. He said such a group's analysis and recommendations must include a clear human rights component and use the UN Declaration on the Right to Development as a guideline. However, he said governments had the "primary responsibility to promote, protect, and implement" the right to development. RTD is one of the most intensely discussed rights in the UN system. Diplomats and experts debate the responsibilities that different segments of society, government, the private sector, and individuals have towards providing for development opportunities. Franciscans International has worked diligently the past few years to facilitate seminars and workshops in order to broaden the discussion. "We look to the CHR to help make the RTD meaningful where it matters most," said Fr Quigley, "for people suffering the indignities and hardships of poverty; for minorities and indigenous peoples; for people who could be saved from the ravages of AIDS, malaria, tuberculosis and other preventable diseases." Source: Franciscans International
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