Research Handbook on International Human Rights Law
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Research Handbook on International Human Rights Law

Edited by Sarah Joseph and Adam McBeth

This innovative and timely Handbook brings together the work of 25 leading human rights scholars from all over the world to consider a broad range of human rights topics.
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Chapter 7: Human Rights and Development

Stephen P. Marks


Stephen P Marks 1 The relationship between human rights and development in international law The international law of human rights and the international law of development are fairly circumscribed, as other chapters in this work clearly point out. International norms and institutions govern each of these fields, although with overlapping domains and ambiguous conceptual linkages. Human rights law draws upon and has its own standards relating to such issues as protection of refugees, victims of armed conflict, workers, children, and the like, and therefore covers a wide range of situations in which the human person is in need of the protection of the law from harm and abuse, as part of a broader endeavour to promote human welfare.1 The law of development is less well defined but includes such topics as international finance, aid, trade, investments, anti-corruption, and lending. The treaties and other standard-setting instruments considered part of international development law in one way or another contribute to national and international efforts to protect vested interests, while often introducing a discourse about raising the populations of developing countries out of poverty and establishing a rules-based international political economy conducive to human welfare.2 How should these two strategies of human welfare be distinguished? Reduced to their most basic purposes, international human rights law promotes the flourishing of the human person while international development law promotes wealth creation and growth. Some approaches to development – often called ‘classical’ or ‘neoliberal’ and preceded by the word ‘ economic’ – treat wealth creation as an end in...

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