Info Service on Finance and Development (Mar17/06)
29 March 2017
Third World Network
of experts on foreign debt, adequate housing extended
Published in SUNS #8430 dated 27 March 2017
Geneva, 24 Mar (Kanaga Raja) - The United Nations Human Rights Council
on Thursday adopted a raft of resolutions including extending, for
a period of three years, the mandate of the Independent Expert on
the effects of foreign debt as well as that of the Special Rapporteurs
on human rights defenders, on minority issues and on adequate housing.
The Human Rights Council is currently holding its thirty-fourth regular
session from 27 February to 24 March.
The resolution extending the mandate of Mr. Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky
(from Argentina), the 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, was adopted by a vote of 31 in favour,
16 against with no abstentions.
Those that voted for the resolution were: Bangladesh, Bolivia, Botswana,
Burundi, China, Congo, Cote d'Ivoire, Cuba, Ecuador, Egypt, El Salvador,
Ethiopia, Ghana, India, Indonesia, Iraq, Kenya, Kyrgyzstan, Mongolia,
Nigeria, Panama, Paraguay, Philippines, Qatar, Rwanda, Saudi Arabia,
South Africa, Togo, Tunisia, United Arab Emirates, and Venezuela.
Those that voted against were: Albania, Belgium, Brazil, Croatia,
Georgia, Germany, Hungary, Japan, Latvia, Netherlands, Portugal, Republic
of Korea, Slovenia, Switzerland, United Kingdom of Great Britain and
Northern Ireland, and United States of America.
The resolution (A/HRC/34/L.3) was tabled by Algeria, Cuba, the Democratic
People's Republic of Korea, Ecuador, Nicaragua, and Venezuela.
In the resolution, the Human Rights Council requested the Independent
Expert 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;
(b) The impact of foreign debt and other related international financial
obligations on the capacity of States to design and implement their
policies and programmes, including national budgets that respond to
vital requirements for the promotion of the realization of social
(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) The effects of public debt, economic reform and financial consolidation
policies on the realization of the Sustainable Development Goals;
(f) The impact of illicit financial flows on the enjoyment of human
(g) The process entrusted with the follow-up to the International
Conference on Financing for Development, with a view to bringing to
its attention the issue of the effects of structural adjustment and
foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic,
social and cultural rights;
(h) Enhancement of consultations with all relevant stakeholders in
the fulfilment of the mandate.
It also requested the Independent Expert to develop guiding principles
for human rights impact assessments for economic reform policies,
in consultation with States, international financial institutions
and other relevant stakeholders, and to organize expert consultations
for the development of the guiding principles and a mapping of existing
impact assessment tools.
In its resolution, the Council recognized the commitments made in
the Addis Ababa Action Agenda, and noted that, despite international
debt relief efforts, many countries remain vulnerable to debt crisis
and some are in the midst of a crisis, including a number of least
developed countries, small island developing States and some developed
It acknowledged that there is greater acceptance that the increasing
debt burden faced by the most indebted developing countries, in particular
the least developed countries, is unsustainable and constitutes one
of the principal obstacles to achieving progress in people-centred
sustainable development and poverty eradication and that, for many
developing and some developed countries, excessive debt servicing
has severely constrained their capacity to promote social development
and provide basic services to create the conditions for the realization
of economic, social and cultural rights.
The Council expressed its concern that, despite repeated rescheduling
of debt, developing countries continue to pay out more each year than
the actual amount they receive in official development assistance.
It recognized that structural adjustment reform programmes and policy
conditionalities limit public expenditure, impose fixed expenditure
ceilings and give inadequate attention to the provision of social
services, and that only a few countries manage to achieve sustainable
higher growth under these programmes.
The Council reiterated that the activities of vulture funds highlight
some of the problems in the global financial system and are indicative
of the unjust nature of the current system, which directly affects
the enjoyment of human rights in debtor States.
It called upon States to consider implementing legal frameworks to
curtail predatory vulture fund activities within their jurisdictions.
The resolutions extending the mandates for a period of three years
of the Special Rapporteurs on the situation of human rights defenders
(as orally revised), on minority issues and on adequate housing were
adopted without a vote.
The current Special Rapporteur on adequate housing is Ms. Leilani
Farha (Canada), while that on minority issues is Ms. Rita Izsak-Ndiaye
(Hungary). The current Special Rapporteur on the situation of human
rights defenders is Mr. Michel Forst (France).
RESOLUTION ON SRI LANKA
Meanwhile, the Human Rights Council also adopted, without a vote,
a resolution (A/HRC/34/L.1) on promoting reconciliation, accountability
and human rights in Sri Lanka.
The resolution was co-sponsored by Australia, Canada, Germany, Israel,
Japan, Montenegro, Norway, Sri Lanka, the former Yugoslav Republic
of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland,
and the United States of America.
In the resolution, the Council took note with appreciation of the
comprehensive report presented by the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights to the Human Rights Council at its thirty-fourth
session, as requested by the Council in its resolution 30/1, and requested
the Government of Sri Lanka to implement fully the measures identified
by the Council in its resolution 30/1 that are outstanding.
It welcomed the positive engagement of the Government of Sri Lanka
with the High Commissioner and the Office of the High Commissioner
since October 2015, and with relevant special procedure mandate holders,
and encouraged the continuation of that engagement in the promotion
and protection of human rights and truth, justice, reconciliation
and accountability in Sri Lanka.
The Council requested the Office of the High Commissioner and relevant
special procedure mandate holders, in consultation with and with the
concurrence of the Government of Sri Lanka, to strengthen their advice
and technical assistance on the promotion and protection of human
rights and truth, justice, reconciliation and accountability in Sri
It requested the Office of the High Commissioner to continue to assess
progress on the implementation of its recommendations and other relevant
processes related to reconciliation, accountability and human rights
in Sri Lanka, and to present a written update to the Human Rights
Council at its thirty-seventh session, and a comprehensive report,
followed by a discussion on the implementation of Council resolution
30/1, at its fortieth session.