For over three decades, the UN’s human rights bodies (treaty bodies and special procedures amongst others) and the United Nations General Assembly are considering the question of the foreign debt and human rights. Those bodies are unanimous on their assessment: the debt is a major obstacle to the development of the countries of the southern hemisphere and to the implementation of the economical, social and cultural rights.
It is now recognized that the debt is a heavy burden and that it has a major impact on almost all aspects of the people’s lives of the concerned countries.
Worse, it constitutes a tool of domination that deprives the people of the indebted countries of their right to self-determination. Indeed, through the structural adjustment Plans, not only measures such as the reduction of expenditures in area public services (education, health, housing, transport, etc.) are imposed but also the removal of the price control, the trade control measures reduction and the exchange control, privatizations, etc. This goes back to the reduction to almost nothing of the regulatory role of the State in the economy. In other words, denying this reality is denying the right of peoples to participate in the decision making concerning them.
The CETIM fully subscribes to the analytical framework described by the independent Expert, Mr. Cephas Lumina, in his reports presented to the Human Rights Council during his six years of mandate and we thank him heartily for his contributions. Mr. Lumina’s recommendations, in particular the guiding Principles related to the foreign debt and human rights, constitute a road map for any state that wish to fight poverty and inequalities and get out of the debt spiral. The recommendation of launching audits of the public debt constitute a powerful tool giving the opportunity to get out of that spiral. We hope that the new independent Expert that will be nominated will follow the path traced by Mr. Lumina.
Some creditor States should renounce to hamper the efforts carried out in the frame of the mandate of the independent Expert and admit that the perpetration of the foreign debt and the rules of the financial and international trading system are also harmful for their fellow citizens as demonstrate it the serious economical and financial crisis which is facing humanity. In cooperation with all the UN members States, those States should start establishing a responsible international order, democratic, fair and impartial in order to ensure the enjoyment of all human rights for human beings.
Thank you for your attention.