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Council holds dialogue with Working Group on transnational corporations and Independent Expert on foreign debt

MIDDAY

21 June 2012

The Human Rights Council in a midday meeting today held a clustered interactive dialogue with the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, and the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights.

Margaret Jungk, Chairperson/Rapporteur of the Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, said last year the Human Rights Council had taken the historic decision to unanimously endorse the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, establishing for the first time an authoritative global standard to address the negative impacts business activities could have on human rights.  What was now required was for awareness of the Guiding Principles to be raised and for States and business enterprises to implement them.  The Working Group had been exploring, with Member States, the possibilities for country visits, so that it could ground its work in real-life complexities on the ground and speak directly and make constructive recommendations. 

Cephas Lumina, the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign, said official initiatives on foreign debt had failed to deliver an enduring solution.  The debts of countries continued to grow and constrained their development prospects and their capacity to realize human rights.  He spoke about his official visit to Viet Nam, and said it needed to ensure financing of its trade and budget deficits did not increase its debt burden to an unsustainable level.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo, which the Independent Expert also visited, was the world’s poorest country, despite an abundance of natural resources, but its creditors had never acknowledged that its debt should be cancelled because of their irresponsible behaviour.  He called upon the country’s creditors to unconditionally cancel what remained of the Mobutu era debt and afford the long-suffering people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo a fresh start. 

Viet Nam, speaking as a concerned country, said international financial assistance was indispensable for developing countries, especially those that lacked resources, but it always came with obligations and became a drain on efforts to comply with human rights obligations.  Viet Nam urged international partners and donors to continue to support it through official development assistance until it was able to consolidate its position as a middle-income country.

Speaking in the clustered interactive debate were Norway, European Union, China, United States, Venezuela, Senegal on behalf of the African Group, Switzerland, Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, Cuba, Spain, Argentina, Latvia, Australia, Colombia, Sweden, Ghana, Kyrgyzstan, Algeria, Morocco, United Kingdom, Egypt, Paraguay, Ecuador, Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie, United Nations Conference on Trade and Development, Holy See, India, Russia, Uruguay, South Africa and the United Nations Children Fund.

Non-governmental organizations and national human rights institutions that took the floor during the interactive dialogue were, ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, speaking on behalf of the national human rights institutions of Canada, the Philippines, Denmark, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Scotland, and Venezuela, International Commission of Jurists in a joint statement, France Libertes: Fondation Danielle Mitterrand in a joint statement, Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development, Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, Foodfirst Information and Action Network and Conectas Direitos Humanos.

The Council will resume its work at 5 p.m. this afternoon to begin a clustered interactive dialogue with the Working Group on discrimination against women and the Special Rapporteur on human rights of migrants.

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (A/HRC/20/29).

The Council has before it the report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (A/HRC/20/23).

The Council has before it a corrigendum to the report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt (A/HRC/20/23/Corr.1).

The Council has before it an addendum to the report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt on the Mission to Viet Nam (A/HRC/20/23/Add.1).

The Council has before it an addendum to the report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt on the Mission to Democratic Republic of the Congo (A/HRC/20/23/Add.2).

The Council has before it an addendum to the report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt on the Mission to Viet Nam with comments by the State (A/HRC/20/23/Add.3).


Introduction of Reports by Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Independent Expert on Foreign Debt

MARGARET JUNGK, Chairperson/Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other enterprises, said that last year the Human Rights Council had taken the historic decision to unanimously endorse the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, establishing for the first time an authoritative global standard to address the negative impacts business activities could have on human rights.  The governance gaps created by globalization that allowed adverse impacts of business activities on human rights had been identified.  Global standards of conduct had now been established.  What was now required was for awareness of the Guiding Principles to be raised and for States and business enterprises to implement them.  Since its establishment in November the previous year, the Working Group had had on-going engagement with stakeholders during and in between sessions.  It would encourage efforts to raise the capacity of the State, business and civil society to implement the Guiding Principles, by encouraging training and other capacity-building activities as well as systematic dialogue and engagement between all stakeholders.  The Working Group had been exploring, with Member States, the possibilities for country visits, so that it could ground its work in real-life complexities on the ground and speak directly and make constructive recommendations. 

On 4 and 5 December 2012, the first Forum on Business and Human Rights would take place under the guidance of the Working Group.  This two-day forum would provide a unique global platform for stakeholders from all regions, experts, practitioners and rights holders, to engage in dialogue and discuss experiences, opportunities and challenges in the dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles.  Its success would ultimately depend on contributions of all stakeholders to share practices and lessons learned, and to engage proactively and in a constructive way.   Stakeholders should engage in dialogue at the national level ahead of the Forum and continue this engagement afterwards.

CEPHAS LUMINA, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, said the issue of foreign debt and its impact on human rights and development, particularly in developing countries, had preoccupied the international community for more than three decades.  A number of official initiatives over the years had failed to deliver an enduring solution.  The debt of those countries continued to grow and constrained not only their development prospects but also undermined their capacity to establish the conditions for the realization of human rights.  The final text of the Guiding Principles now before the Council was the outcome of an inclusive process of consultations with a broad range of stakeholders.  The Guiding Principles were divided into three sections: scope and purpose, foundation principles and operational principles.  Ultimately the Guiding Principles recommended establishment of an independent international debt workout mechanism to restructure unsustainable debts and resolve debt disputes in a fair, transparent, efficient and timely manner.

The Independent Expert spoke about his official visit to Viet Nam, from 21 to 29 March 2011, and said Viet Nam had made commendable progress, achieving three out of eight Millennium Development Goals well ahead of schedule, halving poverty rates, ensuring gender equality and making primary education available to all.  Challenges faced included huge socio-economic disparities, climate change and the need to ensure financing of its trade and budget deficits did not increase its debt burden to an unsustainable level.  Regarding his visit to the Democratic Republic of the Congo from 25 July to 5 August 2011, the Independent Expert said it faced critical development challenges and according to the International Monetary Fund and the World Bank, it remained at high risk of debt distress.  The Democratic Republic of the Congo was today the world’s poorest country, despite an abundance of natural resources, but its creditors had never acknowledged that its debt should be cancelled because of their irresponsible behaviour.  The Independent Expert called upon the country’s creditors to unconditionally cancel what remained of the Mobutu era debt and afford the long-suffering people of the Democratic Republic of the Congo a fresh start.  He also expressed concern about exorbitant ‘vulture fund’ claims against the Democratic Republic of the Congo. 

Statement by Concerned Country

Viet Nam, speaking as a concerned country, said that it had invited four mandate holders to visit the country to allow for a better understanding of the situation on the ground in related human rights areas.  Some of the ultimate goals were to achieve measured changes in poverty reduction, unemployment, and sustained social coherence building.  International financial assistance was indispensable for developing countries, especially those that lacked resources, but this always came with obligations, becoming a drain on efforts to comply with human rights obligations.  Viet Nam faced numerous new challenges, and urged international partners and donors to continue to support it through official development assistance until it was able to consolidate its position as a middle-income country.

Clustered Interactive Debate on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and on the Effects of Foreign Debt

Norway said Norway was a small debtor country and its debt relief actions were most important from a normative perspective.  The main challenges were securing accountability for business enterprises and providing progressive incentives for corporate actors, both domestically and abroad.  While there was not necessarily a business case for doing responsible business, applying the Guiding Principles had to make sense from a business perspective.  That required communication of clear expectations from Governments towards corporate actors and development of practical tools to address challenges on the ground.  Would the Working Group look into possibilities for developing requirements for business due diligence in the area of human rights? 

European Union said the United Nations Framework and the related Guiding Principles were already influencing policy development in the European Union.  The implementation of both documents was a matter of utmost urgency.  What role could the Human Rights Council and the Forum on Business and Human Rights play in incorporating the Framework and Guiding Principles into global governance frameworks?  What could be the best way to ensure a common convergence on the United Nations Guiding Principles?

China welcomed the guidelines of the Independent Expert on foreign debt and said the excessive debt burden of many countries affected their socio-economic development.  China was committed to debt reduction and had cancelled the loans of several dozen countries, while it helped other developing countries by building schools, sending medical experts and other measures.  China would continue to deepen its cooperation with developing countries on many other levels. 

United States said that the task at hand of transforming the Guiding Principles from paper to practice would be an undertaking of global proportion and therefore the United States sought to collaborate with various stakeholders, including businesses, civil society and other governments.  The United States aimed to support the Working Group by hosting implementation workshops and would grant $ 500,000 to an organization to design and implement projects that would advance the principles of the Guiding Principles.  The United States asked what could governments do to exemplify the State’s duty to protect and how could governments play a role in supporting or creating corporate human rights due diligence standards?

Venezuela said that the definitive text of the Guiding Principles had resulted from a long, broad and inclusive process of consultations.  Venezuela lamented that developed countries had thrown obstacles and simply rejected the project during the process; this and unilateral sanctions were odious measures that prevented development and were a violation of fundamental rights.  The heavy burden of foreign debt, illegal and unfair in many cases, had been exacerbated by the economic crises and threatened many developing and least developed countries.  Aid for development was necessary for the realisation of human rights.  It was important to adopt these principles to move towards the joint commitment to fulfil international cooperation in the solution of economic and social problems.

Senegal, speaking on behalf of the African Group, said that the African Group considered that the adoption of the Guiding Principles constituted a landmark in the protection of rights and the activities of the Working Group and the Independent Expert, the next phase entailed the implementation and strengthening of capacities at national and international levels.  The African Group noted that the report of the Independent Expert highlighted the urgent need for the international community to do whatever it could to address the burden of foreign debt, which undermined many rights, and was becoming alarming in the context of the current crises.  The African Group further highlighted the problems of the non-repatriation of funds to their original countries and its impact on human rights.

Switzerland said that the implementation of the Guiding Principles constituted the biggest challenge.  Switzerland itself was facing the challenge of continuing to translate the principles into concrete actions and ensuring their necessary impact on the ground.  The efforts of the Working Group in the dissemination of good practices would contribute to the avoidance of contradictions and parallelism in implementation.  In May 2012, Switzerland had launched a multipartite dialogue to increase trust between stakeholders and to develop a common understanding of the implications of the Guiding Principles.  States, like enterprises, had to fulfill their responsibilities and develop internal processes for the implementation of the Guiding Principles.

Pakistan, speaking on behalf of the Organization of Islamic Cooperation, said that concerted actions were required in the spirit of international cooperation and assistance.  The Organization of Islamic Cooperation hoped the Human Rights Council would endorse the Guiding Principles by consensus.  It called for enhanced focus on aspects such as the exploration of the conditionality of the International Monetary Fund loans, and the promotion of innovative financing mechanisms.  It also urged the Working Group to continue consulting with stakeholders on a regular basis.

Cuba said that the activities and working methods of transnational corporations had repercussions on the enjoyment of collective rights and labour rights of migrants and their family members, and transnational corporations’ responsibilities should be core features of future work.  Cuba was confident that the Guiding Principles were a basis for an equitable and lasting solution to the current debt crisis.  During this session of the Human Rights Council, Cuba would be submitting a draft resolution on human rights and foreign debt.

Spain applauded efforts made by the Working Group and raised questions for them, asking how they would foster and exchange information on good practices in the area of human rights and companies.  Would it be useful to analyse different domestic legislation in order to combat human rights violations by companies?  Would it be possible to establish a ‘peer review’ among willing corporations?  Spain called on all involved to work closely with the Working Group to ensure their aims became a reality. 

Argentina said the planned annual forum on enterprises and human rights would have to delve into the subject of implementation and dialogue with civil society.  When companies were again re-defining structures and methods in response to the international environment it was particularly relevant to assign them human rights responsibilities.  Argentina encouraged the Working Group to continue their work with the same verve with which they began their mandate. 

Latvia thanked the Independent Expert for his recent visit to Latvia in order to learn about policy measures adopted to stabilize the economy and fulfil international financial obligations.  Following a severe economic crisis in recent years the Latvian economy had returned to strong growth.  Even during the tough situation, the Latvian Government had always ensured that human rights were protected and paid special attention to the social protection of vulnerable groups.

Australia said that while Australian companies already enjoyed a reputation for promoting and respecting human rights, the Guiding Principles provided a roadmap for doing business better.  Australia endorsed the work streams adopted by the Working Group and looked forward toward the United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights.  Future work on business and human rights should complement rather than duplicate pre-existing instruments in this field.  Australia hoped that the growing number of complex initiatives would not discourage stakeholders from participating and suggested that the Working Group engaged with small and medium enterprises.

Colombia said companies held responsibility in building fairer and more equitable societies and the Guiding Principles helped to promote the responsible participation of the private sector in the promotion of human rights.  In Colombia the association of industrialists had created a manual for entrepreneurs.  The Working Group and the Forum could help to disseminate good practices in the implementation of the Guiding Principles.  In an increasingly globalized world enterprises were responsible for conducting their activities in respect for human rights and free trade treaties should also take this into account.

Sweden said that a key factor behind the successful development of the Ruggie framework was the multistakeholder process and noted that a process was underway to implement the United Nations Framework and Guiding Principles at the national level.  Sweden’s approach was to work closely with all stakeholders and, in this context, asked the Working Group whether there were any best practices concerning implementation of the Framework and Principles; whether any particular industries could be seen as frontrunners of provide best practices concerning implementation; and whether the Working Group could elaborate on thematic priorities for its future work.

United Nations Conference on Trade and Development welcomed the initiative mandated by the Human Rights Council and drew attention to the fact that the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development’s Principles on Responsible Sovereign Lending and Borrowing did not address the link between finance and human rights.

Ghana said that the majority of States and businesses were unaware of the Guiding Principles.  It was imperative for States and businesses to make concerted efforts to ensure sustainable economic growth.  It was also important for the Working Group to actively engage with Governments and it should carry out country visits.   Dissemination and implementation was a continuous process that required adequate financing resources.  Ghana recommended the fostering of a close working relationship with the International Labour Organization, given its tripartite structure. How did the Working Group envisage carrying out dissemination in conflict areas?

Kyrgyzstan called upon all involved countries and international organizations, including financial institutions, to develop joint projects on cancellation of external debts of developing countries in exchange for addressing social issues that had a significant impact on human rights.  This would allow developing countries to make achievements in human rights improvement and to fulfill their international obligation at the expense of the external debt.

Algeria endorsed the idea that multinational corporations had a moral responsibility in collaboration with States and other stakeholders to ensure pursuit of the three pillars of sustainable development.  Algeria encouraged the Working Group to move forward in the implementation of the Guiding Principles, which could serve as a common platform among States, companies and citizens.  Algeria took note of the report of the Independent Expert and said that external debt burden took an important toll on the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

Morocco said concerning the principles on foreign debt, developed on the basis of regional consultations, its burden impinged upon the capacity of developing countries to create a propitious environment for the realisation of human rights.  The Independent Expert had noted the obligation of both debtors and lenders to account with a transparent judicial and institutional framework; in that context, Morocco asked for further clarification of the responsibilities and decision-making in cases where these conditions were not met; and about the possibility of granting special rates to countries in respect of the Guiding Principles and with the aim of promoting human rights.

United Kingdom said that business and human rights as an issue had arrived on the international scene but many actors did not know yet about the Guiding Principles.  It was important to maintain integrity and balance of what the United Nations Special Representative achieved with that work.  The United Kingdom was finalising its first strategy on business and human rights and looked forward to the forthcoming Wilton Park conference to refine ideas about how to reach the goals of transforming the principles into practice at the global level.  Would the Working Group share their experience on how business and civil society could work together in implementing the Guiding Principles?

Egypt said that the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights could provide a starting point, not precluding the previous work.  The Working Group should continue with the identification of gaps which were not covered by the Guiding Principles and should pay attention to some neglected issues, such as the actions of the pharmaceutical industry acquiring local companies, which could have an impact on the production of generic drugs and so impede access to health. 

Paraguay said that the report had highlighted that local companies in emerging economies were playing increasingly important roles in the global economy, revealing in the process gaps in the implementation of human rights.  The Working Group should continue to accord attention to vulnerable groups, particularly the poor, and think about recourse for those whose rights were violated by companies.

Ecuador had implemented a sovereign local policy and had allocated a significant portion of its gross domestic product to pay off its foreign debt and fuel economic growth.  The results were obvious: unemployment had declined, the proportion of workers with social coverage increased, and more housing was available.  Poverty had been reduced and stood at 18 per cent in 2011, while the gap between the poorest and the richest fell by ten points.  Human rights were at the centre of life and should be incorporated into all measures undertaken in the economic sphere, and particularly in poverty reduction.

Organisation Internationale de la Francophonie said it had organized a first seminar on corporate social responsibility in Rabat, in 2008, which led to a series of relevant awareness raising actions in 2010 and 2011.  It put forth a suggestion for a trans-regional platform for dialogue and exchange.

Holy See said that human rights criteria for evaluating foreign debt could be an important tool for moving from a narrow economic or material understanding of development to one based on integral human development.  In evaluating foreign loans consideration should be given to reducing unethical loan practices and better aligning of foreign loans with authentic human development.  The Holy See hoped that the process of debt cancellation and reduction for the poorest countries would continue and be accelerated.

India said that it was looking at the possibility of hosting a visit by the Working Group.  The rapid rise in business mergers and acquisitions posed huge challenges for Governments in fulfilling their duties and ensuring effective remedies and accountability.  The focus should remain on the Guiding Principles and lessons learned, rather than naming and shaming.  How could a case of a company that had violated human rights, then had subsequently been acquired by another firm in another country before it could be prosecuted in the former, be dealt with?

Russia said that in conditions of globalization major businesses had become a major player in the international area and the responsibility of large companies in preventing violations had reached the international agenda.  The dissemination of the Guiding Principles should be enhanced by cooperation and the development of guidelines.  Corporations showing concern for the effective introduction of the Guiding Principles should stimulate demand for them, including the general public so that people could take a more active role in the legislative measures available to them.  The implementation could vary depending of the economic situation in specific States and regions. 

Uruguay said that while firms were vehicles for investment and job creation, Uruguay would continue to make an emphasis on the defence of public health.  Companies that wished to set up in Uruguay would have to develop plans which protected the enjoyment of health as an essential human right.  Uruguay considered the draft guidelines on foreign debt a good foundation for discussion among States and agreed with the Independent Expert that the fulfilment of commitments derived from debt should not undermine the commitments concerning the realisation of fundamental economic, social and cultural rights.

South Africa said the Guiding Principles were already widely supported as an authoritative standard on business and human rights by stakeholders and the next step was to ensure their broad implementation.  Governance gaps lay at the core of human rights and that remained the case for all States and companies of all sizes, sectors and operational contexts.  The Working Group was aware of gaps in the realisation of human rights by transnational corporations and other business enterprises.  South Africa asked the Working Group’s views on the development of a legally-binding instrument governing the human rights activities and obligations of transnational corporations.

United Nations Children Fund encouraged partners to focus on the interaction between children’s rights and businesses, which impacted those rights on the community level, in the marketplace and the workplace.  The United Nations Children Fund had, together with the Global Compact and Save the Children, recently released the Children’s Rights and Business Principles and complemented them with a workbook titled ‘Children are Everyone’s Business’.  By considering children’s rights in core business strategies and operations, businesses could demonstrate their responsibility towards children and could be a powerful force for change in support of children’s rights.

ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, speaking on behalf of the national human rights institutions of Canada, the Philippines, Denmark, Germany, Ghana, Indonesia, Jordan, Kenya, Scotland, and Venezuela, concurred with the findings in the report of the Working Group on transnational corporations and with the three strategies proposed therein.  National human rights institutions were well placed to support the efforts of the Working Group, through promoting understanding of the Guiding Principles, ensuring that victims of alleged abuses of economic, social and cultural rights had access to legal remedies and building enabling environment to exact accountability from multinational corporations.

International Commission of Jurists in a joint statement said that the participation of those actually affected by activities of business corporations had been minimal in the working of the Working Group.  The Working Group should urge States to strengthen the availability of accessible, effective and impartial remedy mechanisms.  Further, the independent experts of the Working Group should ensure that their statements and activities contributed and not hindered the potential development of further international standards.

France Libertes: Fondation Danielle Mitterrand, speaking in a joint statement, said economic growth without environmental and social aspects taken into account could not be called progress.  Chile and Peru had to carry out studies on environmental impact before allowing any company or multinational industry to set up in the region and send the results to the Working Group.

Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development said that the experiences of women from the Asia Pacific region overwhelmingly confirmed that debt often led to human rights violations against the poorest, most of whom were women.  The Forum was particularly concerned about the lack of meaningful consultation, access to information and democratic process in the adoption and terms of State debt.  It urged the Human Rights Council to endorse the Guiding Principles.

Lawyers’ Rights Watch Canada, speaking in a joint statement, said it was alarmed by the increase in the number and severity of attacks with apparent involvement of government and corporate agents, and requested the intervention of the Working Group as well as the Human Rights Council, with the Governments of Cambodia, Myanmar and Thailand, to ensure that they immediately took effective measures to properly investigate attacks and bring all perpetrators to justice.

Foodfirst Information and Action Network drew the attention of the Council and Working Group to violations committed by extractive and agro-businesses, transnational and national, in Guatemala.  The State had failed to implement recommendations from the Inter-American Commission for Human Rights concerning the suspension of mining company Marlin I to ensure the health and safety of the local community.  In Polichic, sugar producers had carried out selective attacks and threatened and evacuated members of indigenous communities.  Effective mechanisms to make States accountable for their failure to offer protection and sanction of violations were needed.

Conectas Direitos Humanos said that the Guiding Principles provided a framework for making companies responsible and liable for human rights violations and it was very important to ensure respect for them.  Conectas Direitos Humanos welcomed the emphasis on implementation.  Unfortunately the Working Group had not addressed the need to investigate violations related to firms.  Investigating specific cases and violations was the only way to ensure the implementation of the Guiding Principles on the ground. 


Concluding Remarks

MARGARET JUNGK, Chairperson/Rapporteur of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other enterprises, in her closing remarks, thanked the delegations for their support and backing of the work of the Working Group and for sharing concrete examples on the ground.  Those were very helpful in putting the work of the Working Group in context.  The vast range of comments was evidence of the size of the task before the Working Group, from capacity building of small and medium enterprises, indigenous peoples, and the voice of victims in relation to the right to health and tobacco industries, to mention some.  That had confirmed the importance of how critical it was to get the strategy right from the very beginning and have everyone on board.  There was a major jumping point facing the Working Group at this particular point in time, which was about putting all the previous work together and ensuring that there was no watering down of the Guiding Principles on Businesses and Human Rights.  There were calls for further development on standards as many wanted the norms to have teeth; it was necessary to have some experience in implementation and then go back to the strategy and fill the gaps.  The voice of victims and those impacted by businesses was cross-cutting through the three strategies in the guiding principles.  In concrete terms, States could start building their knowledge base and have an understanding of the situation with businesses, develop action plans and mainstream human rights across Government.

CEPHAS LUMINA, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, in his closing remarks, said that there was increasing recognition that States could have extraterritorial obligations with regard to human rights, for example in the Maastricht principles.  Non-repatriation of illicit funds indeed compounded the problem of external debt and a study on this issue was forthcoming.  The decision to develop the commentary to the Guiding Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights was in the hands of the Human Rights Council.  One of the fundamental problems concerning foreign debt was that States had different frameworks governing this and the problem was either inadequacy of those frameworks or lack of adherence to them; the Guiding Principles were intended to address this issue.  There were several good practices, such as debt cancellation, moratorium on debt payment, or audit of public debt to get a clear picture of how much a country was indebted.  Governments could adopt policies or strategies to ensure the participation of women in decisions concerning foreign debts in order to mitigate their negative impact on the human rights of women.  Finally, the Special Rapporteur encouraged the members of the Human Rights Council to move beyond divisions around this mandate and to find long-term solutions to the problem of foreign debt, which was not only an economic issue, but an issue of social justice.

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