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Human rights-impact assessment of economic reform policies (UN Human Rights Council)

Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, UN Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, will present next February 28 to the Human Rights Council a guiding principles proposal on “human rights impact assessment of economic reforms” (Report A/HRC/40/57). This new framework will aim at assisting States, international finance institutions, creditors, civil society and other stakeholders in ensuring that economic policies remain anchored in human rights standards.

Foto ONU/Jean-Marc Ferré

The overarching idea of these Principles is that states cannot ignore their human rights obligations in economic policymaking even in times of crisis. “Any policy measure - be it fiscal austerity, structural adjustment reforms, privatization of public services, deregulation of financial and labor markets, or changes in taxation - has human rights implications” said Mr. Bohoslavsky. This Report has been developed in a participatory manner, and includes inputs from relevant organizations and administrations on the subject.

[ Know more about the Guiding Principles ]

The Report A/HRC/40/57 is set to include a specific mention to local governments, demanding further decentralization with sufficient capacities, and that subnational governments are given the necessary resources to fulfill their human rights obligations. The report also invites to strengthen multilevel governance in areas such as revenue collection, tax policy and labour reforms, and believes that effective implementation of human rights cannot be achieved without the proactive involvement of local governments.

« Human rights must be a cornerstone in economic policymaking so that economic reforms advance, rather than hinder, the enjoyment of all human rights, according to Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, UN Independent Expert appointed by the Human Rights Council »

The Independent Expert and those organizations and administrations that supported the elaboration of this report believe the mobilization of all concerned stakeholders, among which local governments, is important in order to gain the maximum support by national delegations to the Council. The Independent Expert believes these guiding principles will help national and subnational administration in carrying out policymaking. All concerned stakeholders are invited to address their national delegation to the Human Rights Council to gain support for the Report.

Our Committee participated in an expert meeting on the elaboration of these guiding principles after the invitation of Mr. Bohoslavsky. This exchange allowed the Committee to share key ideas raised by local member governments in previous meetings on local human rights action. Greater involvement by local governments in this process would strengthen international standards for decentralization policies and multi-level coordination mechanisms to ensure economic, social and cultural rights as key pillars of the right to the city.

For further information, please contact Ms. unko Tadaki Human Rights Specialist - OHCHR / SPB (J + 41 22 917 9298 /, Ms. Frédérique Bourque, Deputy Specialist for Human Rights, (+ 41 22 917 9946, or