COVID-19, debt, economy and human rights

The world is facing multiple crises: a health crisis, an economic crisis, a social crisis and a human rights crisis.

Traditionally, through a narrow and sectoral understanding of debt, the issue has been considered to be a matter pertaining to financial and economic studies, overlooking human rights. Nevertheless, the current crisis has clearly demonstrated how much debt issues are closely linked to the realization of many human rights, exposing to the international community and governments the connection between debt, available resources and the fulfilment of human rights obligations.

The problems arising from the pandemic have, once again, clearly underscored the fact that the progressive and full realization of economic, social and cultural rights should not be perceived as a mere ideal.

Related documents

From the previous Independent Expert, Mr. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky:

  • Guidance note on a human rights response to the economic recession in the context of COVID 19 (15 April 2020). The document was shared with States and International Financial Institutions. Available in
    Press release in English, unofficial translations are also available in Français, Español, and Portuguese Português
    Press release in all UN languages
  • “An immediate human rights response to counter the COVID-19 and the global recession ahead is an urgent priority,” says UN expert (20 March 2020)
    Press release in all UN languages