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The Third World and the Right to Development

The Third World and the Right to Development

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Published by Bert M Drona
Development includes the acceptance and spread to the whole population of, at the very least, minimal standards of housing, education, and health. It means that all people are reasonably clothed and fed. It means that in hard times, such as unemployment, minimum assistance is available for those in need. In some countries, this assistance is referred to as social security. These, in broad terms, are the accepted results of development. The definition of development must encompass all aspects—economic, technological, organizational, and managerial.

One cannot take a monolithic viewpoint in defining or conceptualizing development. After all, the primary aim of development is to satisfy man’s spiritual and material needs. Development, then, consists of the ability to maximize resources. It is for the benefit of human beings in all of their aspects, tangible and intangible.14 When these are absent, as they often are in Third World countries, we can rightly say that such a country is underdeveloped or, to put it euphemistically, developing.

The historical and political reasons for the present disorder can be mainly expressed in terms of imperialism, colonialism, and neocolonialism. 34 Dependence, exploitation, the looting of the resources of the Third World, and the introduction of zones of influence have marked international relations with “organized” or “institutionalized” disorder. “The cruel, inhuman law of maximum profit has succeeded finally in establishing disorder, with the Faustian power of multinational firms, the gigantism of
military-industrial complexes, and the ecological disaster.”35
Development includes the acceptance and spread to the whole population of, at the very least, minimal standards of housing, education, and health. It means that all people are reasonably clothed and fed. It means that in hard times, such as unemployment, minimum assistance is available for those in need. In some countries, this assistance is referred to as social security. These, in broad terms, are the accepted results of development. The definition of development must encompass all aspects—economic, technological, organizational, and managerial.

One cannot take a monolithic viewpoint in defining or conceptualizing development. After all, the primary aim of development is to satisfy man’s spiritual and material needs. Development, then, consists of the ability to maximize resources. It is for the benefit of human beings in all of their aspects, tangible and intangible.14 When these are absent, as they often are in Third World countries, we can rightly say that such a country is underdeveloped or, to put it euphemistically, developing.

The historical and political reasons for the present disorder can be mainly expressed in terms of imperialism, colonialism, and neocolonialism. 34 Dependence, exploitation, the looting of the resources of the Third World, and the introduction of zones of influence have marked international relations with “organized” or “institutionalized” disorder. “The cruel, inhuman law of maximum profit has succeeded finally in establishing disorder, with the Faustian power of multinational firms, the gigantism of
military-industrial complexes, and the ecological disaster.”35

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Published by: Bert M Drona on Jan 28, 2010
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HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY
Human Rights Quarterly 
22 (2000) 753–787 © 2000 by The Johns Hopkins University Press
The Third World and the Right toDevelopment: Agenda for theNext Millennium
N. J. Udombana* 
[F]our fifths of the world’s population no longer accept that the remaining fifth shouldcontinue to build its wealth on their poverty.
1
I. INTRODUCTION
It is no longer news that countries of the Third World are in a state of emergency. They are waging war against poverty, disease, and all the otherevils that have plagued our generation. The war appears not to have abated,although some battles have been won. There has been some measure of progress within the last few decades. In some countries of the world, “Berlinwalls” have been torn down—real walls and walls of the mind. However, inmany other parts of the world, particularly the Third World, walls stillremain. There are walls of power and poverty. There are walls that deprivepeople of their most basic rights. There are walls that divide societiesbetween those who have and those who have not, between those who rule
*N.J. Udombana
obtained his LL.B. (
with Honors 
) degree from the University of Lagos, Akoka,Nigeria, in 1988, and a law degree from the Nigerian Law School. He received an LL.M. in1991 from University of Lagos. In 1994, he joined the University of Lagos Department of  Jurisprudence and International Law, Faculty of Law. His research interests are in the areas of International Law (with specialization in Human Rights and Environmental Laws), Jurispru-dence, and Constitutional Law.The author wishes to express thanks to Professor Yemi Osinbajo of the University of Lagosfor his advice and comments on the initial draft. Any error in the final work is, however, myresponsibility.1
.Se
Mohammed Bedjaoui,
The Right to Development, in
I
NTERNATIONAL
L
AW
: A
CHIEVEMENTAND
P
ROSPECTS
1177, 1182 (Mohammed Bedjaou ed., 1991),
excerpted in
H
ENRY
J. S
TEINER
& P
HILIP
A
LSTON
, I
NTERNATIONAL
H
UMAN
R
IGHTS
 
IN
C
ONTEXT
1117 (1996).
 
Vol. 22
754
HUMAN RIGHTS QUARTERLY
and those who suffer. There are walls that consign whole sectors of societyto an existence barely worth the name. In short, there are walls of underdevelopment.So although some walls are falling, this is not the time to becomplacent. It is not yet the time to celebrate
Uhuru.
The process is justbeginning. New structures are yet to be built. Besides, there are still
manymore lands to be possessed.
2
There are many more battles to be fought,many victories to be declared. Only an emergency organization
—“
a warsyndrome
”—
can win this war.This article seeks to examine the concept of 
the right to development,
or
development rights,
in relation to the Third World. Is the right todevelopment an inalienable right? If so, what priority should countries of theThird World give to development? Should they place it above other rights?Can this be legally justi
ed? How can Third World countries balanceeconomic growth with basic human needs
and human rights? This articlewill also consider the consequences for the new millenium of the near-universal embrace of the market economy and the effects of the globaliza-tion of the economy on the right to development. What are the challengesthat the right to development creates for contemporary international law?
II. CONCEPTUAL ANALYSISA.“Third World
Alfred Sauvy
rst used the expression
Third World
in 1955.
3
It has, sincethen, caught on very successfully. However, a satisfactory de
nition has yetto be elaborated. The Chinese invented the theory of the
three worlds.
4
The
rst was constituted by the dual American-Soviet hegemony. Thesecond consisted of such countries as China, the Western European States, Japan, Canada, and Australia. The last corresponded precisely to thedeveloping countries, also described as the
Third World.
The term
Third World
can be de
ned according to many criteria. Itcan, for example, be de
ned from the political perspective. In this sense, itrepresents a group of states attached neither to the capitalist camp nor to thecommunist bloc; they are the non-aligned countries. Also,
Third World
can be de
ned from the economic perspective. In this sense, it meanscountries with the common characteristics of underdevelopment.
2
.Joshua
13:1 (King James).3
.Se
M
OHAMMED
B
EDJAOUI
, T
OWARDS
 
A
N
EW
I
NTERNATIONAL
E
CONOMIC
O
RDER
 
25 (UNESCO, 1979).4
.See id.
 
2000Agenda for the Next Millennium
755
Geographically speaking, the Third World mainly consists of theAfrican, Asian, and Latin American states. These countries belong to the
storm belt.
They are so described because they have been through manydisturbances.
5
They have, for example, fought many battles for theirnational liberation and economic independence. The
Third World
is thusa geopolitical concept, based on inclusion in a geographical area
theSouthern hemisphere
at the historical period of colonization. It is alsobased on the economic situation of underdevelopment.Some writers have made a further classi
cation.
6
They classify develop-ing Third World countries into two groups. The
rst group consists of thelow-income developing countries. These are largely made up of Africancountries, especially sub-Saharan African states; South Africa is excluded.The
rst group also includes Latin American states. The second groupconsists of the middle-to-high-income Third World countries. This consistsof the high performing Asian economies led by Japan. It includes the so-called
four tigers
”—
Hong Kong, the Republic of Korea, Singapore, andTaiwan. It also includes the newly industrializing economies of Indonesia,Malaysia, and Thailand.
7
B.Development v. Underdevelopment
Some countries are classi
ed as developed, others as developing. Still, someare classi
ed as underdeveloped. This raises a question. What is develop-ment? The answer is not that simple. Development is a many-sided process.At the level of the individual, it implies increased skill and capacity. Itimplies greater freedom, creativity, self-discipline, responsibility, and mate-rial well-being. The achievement of these aspects of personal developmentis very much tied to the state of the society as a whole.
8
At the level of the social groups, development implies an increasingcapacity to regulate both internal and external relations. More often thannot, development is used in a purely economic sense. In this sense, it is
seen as simultaneously the vision of a better life, a life materially richer,institutionally more modern and technologically more ef 
cient and an arrayof means to achieve that vision.
9
5
.Se
 
id.
at 25
26.6
.Se
Yemi Osinbajo & Olukonyinsola Ajayi,
Human Rights and Economic Development in Developing Countries,
28 I
NT
L
L
AWYER
727, 730 (1994).7
.See id.
8
.Se
W
ALTER
R
ODNEY
, H
OW
E
UROPE
U
NDERDEVELOPED
A
FRICA
9 (1982).9
.Se
Denis Goulet,
Development: Creator and Destroyer of Values in
H
UMAN
R
IGHTS
 
IN
 
THE
T
WENTY
-F
IRST
C
ENTURY
: A G
LOBAL
C
HALLENGE
689
90 (K.E. Mahoney & Paul Mahoney eds.,1993).

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