The right to development comprises the rights of individuals, groups and peoples to participate in, contribute to and enjoys the benefits of: (a) economic development (including terms of production and equitable distribution of income); (b) social development (including the right to work, health and education, adequate shelter and food); (c) cultural development (including respect for cultural identity); (d) political development (including strengthening of democracy through, in particular, participation of individuals, groups and people in the decision-making process); (e) technological development; (f) development guaranteeing all parties the right to a healthy environment in a framework of sustainable development.
Factors which impede the realization of the social, cultural and economic rights, and so the right to development, include: (a) structural adjustment, the deterioration in terms of trade, and the reduction in the purchasing power for the developing countries; (b) the debt burden; (c) misconceptions of the State in its relations with society (e.g. official corruption, lack of income distribution, lack of participation by affected parties in economic and political decision making); (d) relative capacity of the market economy to promote the realization of all human rights, which is made less effective by the decrease in the percentage of GDP spent on official development assistance; (e) economic growth regarded as a panacea; (f) erroneous perception of development; (g) insufficient political will; (h) devastation of the environment; (i) size of military expenditure and existence of armed conflicts; (j) existence of a dualistic view of human rights.
Equally denying were the failure by many States to observe internationally-recognized human rights standards and, in particular, the right of self-determination, the rule of law, the right to participation in fundamental economic, social and cultural rights, and the principle of non-discrimination. That situation had manifested itself in serious and systematic violations of human rights, increased ethnic conflicts, aggressive nationalism, acts of racism, racial and other discrimination, xenophobia, religious intolerance, hatred and violence, substantial population movements, the phenomenon of refugees and displaced persons, inadequate protection of vulnerable groups, and inadequate participation of women, minorities and indigenous peoples.
The right to development is an inalienable human right by virtue of which every human person and all peoples are entitled to participate in, contribute to, and enjoy economic, social, cultural and political development (UN Declaration on the Right to Development, 4 December 1986). In 1993 the right to development was reaffirmed in the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, adopted by the World Conference of Human Rights by all States as a universal and inalienable right and an integral part of fundamental human rights.
The right to development grew out of the economic inequality and the disadvantaged position of the underdeveloped countries. This right establishes the principle of reparation to which are entitled the peoples and countries which had long been robbed of their wealth by slavery and colonization.
Unequal distribution of wealth and income at both national and international levels has worsened in recent decades and has reached such dimensions as to be a genuine international scandal.
Contemporary development strategies have resulted in the creation of privileged national elites which follow the same patterns of consumption as hing-income groups in developed countries, while the great masses of the population cannot even meet their most basic needs. This follows a pattern practiced in developed countries for 50 years, where similar gaps exist. The actors and beneficiaries of these strategies constitute a minority, compared with the overwhelming but deprived minority.