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UN expert urges Japan to adopt rights-based approach to development

Cephans Lumina [official profile], the UN Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and human rights, called upon Japan Monday to adopt a rights-based approach to international development [press release]. As one of the largest providers of development assistance in the world, Lumina recommended that Japan make a "more explicit commitment to incorporating human rights principles into the design, implementation and monitoring of its international development cooperation policies." Though the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA), the Nippon Export and Investment Insurance (NEXI) and the Japan Bank for International Cooperation (JBIC) [official websites], have guidelines to ensure that Japan's development projects are not environmentally or socially detrimental, Lumina noted [mission statement] that these institutions do not effectively ensure accountability, and he encouraged the government of Japan to strengthen these guidelines by requiring a compressive human rights impact assessment. Lumina also called upon Japan to follow through on its commitment to establish an independent National Human Rights Institution [UN News Centre report].

In 2000 the 192 nations that comprise the UN adopted the Millennium Declaration Goals (MDGs) [text, PDF], which seeks to reduce poverty, increase access to healthcare and education and improve the environment by 2015. In May a group of international non-governmental organizations released a joint statement [JURIST report] urging world leaders to pursue a rights-based development agenda once the MDGs expire. In 2010 Amnesty International urged world leaders to strengthen the MDG's [JURIST report] to meet international human rights standards.

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