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UN rights chief urges integration of rights safeguards in development plans

UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Navi Pillay [official website] on Wednesday wrote an open letter [text, PDF; press release] to all UN member states urging them to consider the protection of human rights in their negotiations during the upcoming Rio+20 Conference [official website] where the nations will discuss international plans to further sustainable development. Pillay's letter warns that the draft outcome document for the Rio+20 Conference "fails to take sufficient account of human rights imperatives." Pillay points out that the work of the original Rio Conference was applauded not just for its efforts toward sustainable development, but also its commitment to extending human rights protections. Pillay goes on to warn that:

Strategies based on the narrow pursuit of economic growth without due regard for equity and related environmental, social and human rights considerations, will both fail in their economic objectives, and risk damaging the planet and the fundamental rights of people.
Pillay is slated to attend the Rio+20 Conference in June.

Officially known as the United Nations Conference on Environment and Development [Britannica backgrounder], the 1992 Rio Conference was a groundbreaking push for a unified effort towards sustainable development. Commencing this June in Rio de Janeiro, Rio+20 is intended to act as a twenty year anniversary thrust to further the goals of the first conference and address new concerns threatening efforts towards sustainable development. The conference will focus on two primary themes: 'a green economy in the context of sustainable development and poverty eradication' and 'the institutional framework for sustainable development.' The UN has also made public a collection of issue briefs [briefs collection] ahead of the conference which identify some of the specific resources and goals that will be at issue in the conference.

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