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October 2000

Dear Friend, His Excellency, Prime Minister of (Name of State), NGO etc…

We are writing this letter with a sense of urgency, to call your attention to the fact that the Human Rights framework is not even mentioned in the tentative agenda of the forthcoming Third United Nations Conference on the Least Developed Countries (LDC-III) to be hosted by the European Union, in Brussels in May 2001.

We represent the growing coalition of human rights, and environment and development NGOs who are deeply concerned about the potential impacts on people’s lives in your country. The importance of having the Human Rights framework as a guideline for the plan of action must be acknowledged and adhered to. We must all call attention to the human rights implication of international trade and development.

All LDC countries as well as donor countries involved in this process have ratified at least one or more of the following UN conventions and covenants: International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights; International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights; Convention on the Elimination of all forms of Discrimination Against Women; International Covenant on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination; Convention on the Rights of the Child

We are appealing to you because we are sure that you and your Government take the commitments and obligations you have made to Human Rights seriously and are perceiving it as a guideline to eradicate poverty and build an equitable economy.

Allow us, therefore, to appeal to you, suggesting that you may remind officials from your country, now working to develop the agenda and plan of action for the forth coming PrepCom in March 2001, to abide by the human rights commitments made and obligations undertaken by your country and make it an integral part of your country’s participation in the LDC III conference.

Furthermore, the agenda for the conference calls for a review of the implementation of international support measures, particularly in the areas of ODA, debt, investment and trade. We hope that you will take leadership in developing a fruitful debate on these issues within the human rights framework and remind your colleagues of the commitments they have made to International Human Rights law. The UN Charter, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the UN Declaration on the Right to Development all place an obligation of ‘international cooperation’ on states individually and collectively . In a globalized world, states have to take shared action in safeguarding people’s human rights. If states are meeting their obligations derived from general international law, they will not violate nor assist in violating the human rights of persons who are not under their jurisdiction. It is clear that states acting alone can no longer meet all their human rights obligations, therefore international

Multilateral debt trade investment and finance policies are undermining the ability of all states particularly the LDC countries to perform according to the commitments that they have made to ensure the enjoyment by all of fundamental human rights such as food , housing, healthcare, education and work at livable wages, the human rights of women, youth , children and vulnerable communities

The goals of the conference is to introduce Governments as well as NGOs to the international HR framework. At the same time this will assist governments, NGOs and all effected agencies to utilize Human Rights instruments and principles as a defense of states to promote, protect a respect the Human Rights of their people including the irradiation of poverty.

This conference will also provide the opportunity for African countries to speak in one voice and to make an alternative proposal based on the respect to human rights .and the relevance of the human rights discourse regarding all development issues which are of utmost importance for our countries.

We propose that during this conference all policies and measures discussed must be conceived within the Human Rights framework. A forthright human rights approach will allow for the creation of national and international policies that will support the human rights of all people residing in the LDC countries. Only in such an approach can we ensure that multilateral and regional debt, trade, investment and finance policies do not undermine the fundamental human rights of people and communities that the LDC governments are surely pledged to protect.

Allow us to offer you our expertise in the field and extend a hand from civil society for cooperation and collaboration in the struggle for economic and social justice and a better world for all.

For more information, please contact PDHRE:
The People's Movement for Human Rights Education, 526 West 111th Street, New York, NY 10025
tel: 212.749-3156; fax: 212.666-6325; e-mail: pdhre@igc.org