Dr Cephas Lumina, the UN independent expert on debt, has published his latest annual report to the Human Rights Council. Dr Lumina is mandated to look at the effects of foreign debt on a states’ abilities to protect citizens’ full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights. He met with EURODAD several times in the preparation of his report and draws on our work substantially in his findings and recommendations.
The report reviews the various definitions of illegitimate debt advocated by debt campaigners and others, and proposes that the human rights principles of participation, inclusion, transparency, accountability, the rule of law, equality and non-discrimination may provide invaluable guidance in efforts to formulate an internationally accepted definition of illegitimate debt. The report also argues that national audits of debt/lending portfolios and international debt arbitration are potentially useful tools in addressing the problem of illegitimate debt. The author draws attention to the limitations of the current international debt relief initiatives and highlights the need for urgent and concerted efforts at the international level towards reform of the global financial system.
Dr Cephas Lumina ends with a number of recommendations, including calls for all countries to support efforts to find a precise and meaningful definition of the concept of illegitimate debt, to establish an international independent arbitration mechanism on debt and to reform the international financial system.
To access the report, see: http://www2.ohchr.org/english/issues/development/debt/docs/A-64-289.doc