Economic globalization has a number of significant factors for shaping development efforts that, consequently, affect the human rights regime. Economic globalization has changed the nature and extent of the fields of both-human rights and development. As the foremost goal of globalization is to foster the economic growth and make markets flourish, it is basically unable to address solutions for all individual problems. Since globalization is uneven in intensity and scope, it has different distributional effects on different classes of people. Within the framework of economic globalization, development efforts vastly ignore the individual interests and, consequently, poor and marginalized people become, at the first instance, the sufferers of its negative effects. When in principle, human rights are considered to be natural, inherent to every individual and generally inalienable, the inexorable force and pace of economic globalization renders the individual human rights at stake. Taken as granted, neither states nor other actors in economic globalization have scope to escape from their obligations under international human rights instruments e.g. UDHR. Considering the significance of globalization for economic progress and development, it undeniably should keep going while some solutions for protecting individual rights, inevitably, should be generated within the framework of it.
While development and human rights both aim at human growth and welfare, if development efforts adhere with the norms and standards of human rights, then the negative effects economic globalization, to a large extent, can be curved. Integration of development and human rights will help ensure the collective and individual welfare with parallel significance and will not let them stand as opposite to each other. The nexus between human rights and development calls for bringing in the standards and principles of human rights e.g. participation, nondiscrimination, accountability and empowerment, for determining interventions within the development process. It prioritizes and offers empowerment for the most vulnerable when provided with their rights, informed participation, and access to resources and decision making. It offers accountability for all parties in development when provided with the proper channels for evaluating the institutions and mechanisms. It develops human rights informed indicators which signal best to determine the degree of human development. Human rights shift the focus of development from the growth of GDP to human development. It recognizes poverty not just as the economic deprivation but as the lack of freedoms to choose what a person values. It replaces the concept of individual basic needs with human rights, and binds the states and other actors with the responsibility to satisfy those rights. Therefore, human rights norms guide the development efforts to be individual centric and shield individual rights from the unevenness character of economic globalization.
By signing various human rights instruments, Bangladesh is committed to pursuing socio-economic policies in a way that would promote its people's human rights. It seems reasonable to say that while Bangladesh can claim to have made much progress toward paving the way for incorporating human rights into its development policy set-up but the policies it adopted in practice have failed to incorporate the human rights standards. The process of incorporation of human rights norms and standards into development plans and policies seems unimpressive hitherto as it involves several existing social, economic and political contingencies not well-thought out during policy-making. A segment of civil society and NGOs has been insisting on government's incorporating human rights norms in development plans and policies but the trend seems to be inconstant to date. In budget allocations, though the government is increasing the shares in social welfare sectors e.g. heath and education but the process is not done on the basis of human rights standards and, therefore, outcomes of those budget allocations are not equally shared. As Bangladesh is a marginal actor in the globalization, negative effects of globalization are increasingly becoming visible in its socio-economic realities. Though the GDP has been increasing significantly for last two decades but the income inequality has also been on the rise in the same pace. Country's efforts show that it is of positive mind to protect and promote individual human rights, so is indispensable for Bangladesh to incorporate human rights norms and standards into its development plans and policies.
Mahmudul Hasan is Research Associate at the Human Rights Support Center (HRSC)