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Independent Expert on foreign debt, other international financial obligations and human rights
Despite repeated rescheduling of debt, developing countries continue to pay out more each year than the amount they receive in official development assistance. The increasing debt burden faced by the most indebted developing countries is unsustainable. It presents one of the greatest obstacles to developing sustainably and eradicating poverty.
For many developing countries, excessive debt servicing has severely limited their ability to promote social development and provide basic services to create the conditions for the realisation of economic, social and cultural rights.
The Independent Expert sets out to examine:
The mandate was initially established as a Special Rapporteur position by the UN Commission on Human Rights in 1998. It has undergone many changes since that date. The current terms of the mandate of the Independent Expert are contained in Human Rights Council resolution 43/10, from June 2020, where the mandate was renewed for a period of three years. Two additional resolutions were adopted at the HRC’s 46th session, resolution 46/8 on the effects of foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights, and 46/11 on non-repatriation of funds of illicit origin.
Professor Attiya Waris (Kenya) was appointed the UN Independent Expert on foreign debt and human rights by the Human Rights Council at its 47th session and took up this function on 1 August 2021. She holds a PhD in Law and is a specialist in Fiscal Law, Policy and Development. Ms Waris teaches at the Law School, University of Nairobi, Kenya and has previously taught in South Africa, Rwanda, Malaysia and the United Kingdom. Prof Waris has researched and published on global, African, Asian, European as well as Latin American issues.
A brief summary of the scope, essential reports, and country visits of the mandate and the means of communication. This flyer has been developed to disseminate the mandate's content activities and achievements. It is available in English, French, and Spanish.
Based on existing human rights obligations and responsibilities, the guiding principles underline the importance of systematically assessing the impact of economic reforms on the enjoyment of all human rights before decisions are taken to implement such reforms, as well as during and after their implementation. The Independent Expert submitted the Guiding Principles to the Human Rights Council in February 2019.
Endorsed by the Human Rights Council in June 2012, these Guiding Principles are designed to assist States and all relevant actors in the conduct of their respective activities relating to external debt.
Letter from the Independent Expert to the International Monetary Fund
24 November 2021
and response received (dated 4 February 2022)