Monday, August 13, 2018

From the Independent Expert on foreign debt, international financial obligations and human rights: August Newsletter

Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, the Independent Expert on foreign debt, international financial obligations and human rights.  Mr. 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 undertakes 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.
In his 2018 Report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/37/54), Mr.  Bohoslavsky
describes the evolution in structural adjustment responses to financial crises and the mitigation of adverse social impacts up to the 2007–2008 financial crisis and explains how structural adjustment programmes affect human rights. He argues that, for both economic and legal reasons, economic reform programmes must be inclusive and advance human rights. He identifies the main challenges of developing guiding principles for assessing human rights impacts, including their basis, scope, content, issues related to timing, and some reflections on how to proceed. He concludes with some preliminary recommendations for discussion on the content and format of the guiding principles and proposes the next steps towards developing them (Ibid., p. 5, ¶ 11).
He would "Draw on existing human rights standards relating to economic, social, cultural, civil and political rights at the international and regional levels, including core international human rights treaties, their authoritative interpretation in general comments, statements, decisions, guiding principles, concluding observations and recommendations issued by international human rights mechanisms" (Ibid., ¶78(b)). And he might more closely embed state actions within the leadership and guidance of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. "Recommend that human rights impact assessments be instituted and carried out regularly, before, during and after the implementation of economic reforms that may have the potential to cause significant adverse human rights impacts, and facilitate States’ reporting obligations to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights" (Ibis., ¶ 78(p). 

It is in that context that much of the valuable work that follows might be appreciated and considered. One can better understand this work by its application.  To that end I am happy to pass along the Independent Expert's August 2108 Newsletter, which follows below.

Mandate of the Independent Expert on foreign debt, international financial obligations and human rights
Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky
NEWSLETTER   No. 4- 2018
Follow us on Twitter: @IEfinanceHRs
1. Letter to World Bank about its draft World Development Report 2019
On 3 August, the Independent Expert sent a letter to the World Bank about its 2019 WDR’s draft. In the letter, he urges the Bank to recommend labour policies that are aligned with the right to work and related human rights.                                               
2. “Brazil must put human rights before austerity warn UN experts as child mortality rises”
On 3 August, the Independent Expert and six other special procedure mandates, issued a press release urging Brazil to reconsider its austerity programme and to put the human rights of its population at the centre of its economic policies.
Previously, on 18 May 2018, a group of experts sent a joint communication to the Brazilian Government. The letter raised concerns about information and allegations about the negative impacts on several human rights of budget cuts, structural adjustment and austerity measures implemented since 2014. This joint letter was made public 30 July, 2018.
  1. “Human rights impact assessments must be part of economic reforms”: Interview in SUR - International Journal on Human Rights
In an interview published in SUR’s July 2018 issue, the Independent Expert speaks about the link between human rights and finance and the effects of austerity policies on human rights.
  1. Upcoming: Seminar in Sao Paulo: “Impacts of austerity measures on human rights”
On 9 August, the Independent Expert will participate in a short seminar in Sao Paulo at Pontifícia Universidade Católica (auditorium 100-A). The event is organised by CBDHPE, Conectas, FES, and PUC-SP. Participants can register here.
  1.   Call for contributions for visit to Sri Lanka, 3-11 September 2018
At the invitation of the Government, the Independent Expert will visit Sri Lanka from 3 to 11 September 2018. Relevant stakeholders are invited to provide contributions for the preparation of his visit, including specific issues and information. Inputs should be no longer than 2000 words and submitted before 20 August at  All contributions will be acknowledged and will be kept confidential.
  1. Upcoming: Mid-September- Report on the impact of economic reform policies on women’s human rights
The Independent Expert’s report to the UN General Assembly will be available in September 2018 in all UN languages. In his report, he offers insight into the particular channels through which economic reform policies affect women’s human rights and suggests what can and should be done to prevent and address negative impacts.
  1. Development of Guiding principles for assessing human rights impact of economic reform policies
·         Expert meeting in Geneva, 2-3 July
On 2 - 3 July, the Independent Expert, in collaboration with FES, organised an expert meeting to discuss a zero draft guiding principles. Juan Pablo thanks all the participants for their contribution and commitment to this process.
·         Upcoming- End of August:  Draft Guiding Principles for public consultation
By the end of August, the Independent Expert will publish a draft of the guiding principles for assessing the human rights impact of economic reform policies on his web page for comments from all stakeholders. English, French and Spanish versions will be available.

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