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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

Introduction

Mr. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky is the current 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. The Independent Expert carries out analytical research and undertaks country missions, in an effort to work with Governments, the United Nations, non-governmental actors and other stakeholders on issues falling under his mandate.

The terms of his mandate are contained in Human Rights Council resolution 25/16, which request him to pay particular attention to:

(a) The effects of foreign debt and the policies adopted to address them on the full enjoyment of all human rights, in particular, economic, social and cultural rights in developing countries;

(b) The impact of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations on the capacity of States to design and implement policies and programmes, including national budgets that respond to vital requirements for the promotion of the realization of social rights;

(c) Measures taken by Governments, the private sector and international financial institutions to alleviate such effects in developing countries, especially the poorest and heavily indebted countries;

(d) New developments, actions and initiatives being taken by international financial institutions, other United Nations bodies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with respect to economic reform policies and human rights;

(e) Quantification of minimum standards to support the realization of the Millennium Development Goals;

(f) Enhancement of consultations with all relevant stakeholders in the fulfillment of his mandate;

UN Photo/Eskinder DebebeThe Independent Expert is furthermore requested by Human Rights Council Resolution 25/9  to “continue considering the impact of illicit financial flows on the enjoyment of human rights as part of her or his mandate”.

The Independent Expert carries out country missions to study the effects of foreign debt on the realization of human rights and to engage in dialogues with the Government, international financial institutions, UN agencies and civil society as a part of his global analysis of the subject as well as to develop practical recommendations and suggestions to the countries concerned. The Independent Expert also engages in consultations with the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, as well as other international organizations active in the areas of development aid.

The Independent Expert is part of the system of Special Procedures of the United Nations Human Rights Council. With the support of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), Special Procedures undertake country visits; act on individual cases of alleged violations and concerns of a broader, structural nature by sending communications to States; conduct thematic studies and convene expert consultations, contributing to the development of international human rights standards ; engage in advocacy and raise public awareness ; and provide advice for technical cooperation.

Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights

In April 2004, the Commission on Human Rights (the predecessor to the Human Rights Council) requested the Independent Expert to draft general guidelines to be followed by States and by private and public, national and international financial institutions in the decision-making and execution of debt repayments and structural reform programmes, including those arising from foreign debt relief. The purpose of the guidelines is to ensure that compliance with the commitments derived from foreign debt will not undermine the obligations for the realization of fundamental economic, social and cultural rights, as provided for in the international human rights instruments After a broad consultative process the Independent Expert submitted the Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights (A/HRC/20/23) to the Human Rights Council in June 2012. The Council endorsed the Guiding principles in its resolution 20/10.


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Highlights

Presentation of report on the impact of austerity on women’s human rights at GA, 22 Oct. 2018

Open Letter to States about binding instrument on Business & Human Rights, 1 Oct. 2018

Public consultation on Draft Guiding Principles, available in EN, SP, FR. Deadline: 24 Sep., 2018

Discurso sobre impactos de austeridad en derechos humanos, PUC- São Paulo
9 Agosto 2018

Letter to World Bank on the draft World Development Report 2019

Comunication to Brazil regarding austerity measures from several UN experts, 18 May 2018

Independent Expert to visit Sri Lanka 3-11 September 2018 – Call for contributions - Deadline: 20 August

Submission to OECD National Contact Points of Belgium and Luxembourg

Side event "Assessing Human Rights Impacts of Economic Reform Policies" (Geneva, 2 March 2018 12:00-13:30)

Response from IMF to Open Letter on social protection
31 January 2018

Open letter to the IMF on social protection
21 December 2017

Latest reports

Report to the Human Rights Council (main focus: Development of guiding principles for assessing the human rights impact of economic reform policies A/HRC/37/54)

Report of the Independent Expert on his country visit to Switzerland A/HRC/37/54/Add.3 E F

Report of the Independent Expert on his country visit to Panama A/HRC/37/54/Add.2 E S 

Report of the Independent Expert on his country visit to Tunisia A/HRC/37/54/Add.1 A E

Guiding principles on foreign debt and human rights

The Guiding principles are designed to assist States and all relevant actors in the conduct of their respective activities and pursuit of their respective interests relating to external debt

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