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Macroeconomic policies

Developing country bloc calls for human rights-based approach to debt

A statement delivered by the Prime Minister of the Republic of Fiji, Mr. J.V. Bainimarama on behalf of the Group of 77 and China (the developing country bloc at the United Nations) called for a human rights approach on debt policy.

Noting the group’s deep concern about vulture fund litigation, the statement expressed fear that debt restructuring processes and debt sustainability face risks related to speculators endeavoring to gain excess profits off these countries. These vulture funds pose risks for all future debt restructuring processes, due to their proven speculative and profit seeking nature. The Group argued that when market based, ad hoc contractual approach to working out debt is insufficient, the preferred option should be a human rights approach.  They called for a fair, human-centered and development oriented mechanism enshrining the legal principle of “odious debt” to protect people’s right to development. In the opinion of the Group the UN Guiding Principles on Foreign Debt and Human Rights show that financial institutions and private companies have an obligation to respect human rights. They called on countries to adopt legislation consistent with the Guiding Principles to combat vulture funds and support setting up independent international system of debt arbitration.

The statement was delivered at a United Nations-convened High Level Dialogue on debt sustainability.

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May 2017
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