Sovereign debt is necessary for the functioning of many modern
states, yet its impact on human rights is underexplored in academic
literature. This volume provides the reader with a step-by-step
analysis of the debt phenomenon and how it affects human rights.
Beginning by setting out the historical, political and economic
context of sovereign debt, the book goes on to address the human
rights dimension of the policies and activities of the three types
of sovereign lenders: international financial institutions (IFIs),
sovereigns and private lenders. Bantekas and Lumina, along with a
team of global experts, establish the link between debt and the
manner in which the accumulation of sovereign debt violates human
rights, examining some of the conditions imposed by structural
adjustment programs on debtor states with a view to servicing their
debt. They outline how such conditions have been shown to
exacerbate the debt itself at the expense of economic sovereignty,
concluding that such measures worsen the borrower's economic
situation, and are injurious to the entrenched rights of peoples.
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Review This Product
Fri, 22 Mar 2019 | Review by: Phillip T
IMPORTANT MODERN OBSERVATIONS
ON HUMAN RIGHTS AND SOVEREIGN DEBT AT A TIME OF CHANGE SINCE 2015
An appreciation by Elizabeth Robson Taylor of Richmond Green Chambers and Phillip Taylor MBE, Head of Chambers
and Reviews Editor, “The Barrister”
The writers, Ilias Bantekas and Cephas Lumina, declare that “sovereign debt is necessary for the functioning of many modern states, yet its impact on human rights is underexplored in academic literature”.
It may be considered by some readers that this statement sums up the issues raised with this subject matter. And that this wrong has been put right by OUP in this most interesting new title, “Sovereign Debt & Human Rights”!
Do begin by reading the Preface which explained how the book was conceived. The editors were engaged with the Greek Parliamentary Committee on the Truth of the Greek Debt in 2015. The Committee’s findings “made it abundantly clear that a country’s debt is a complex phenomenon”.
The reasons given by the Committee’s leader, Eric Toussaint, are that “the most powerful stakeholders will typically silence all dissent as to the nature and even the existence of the debt”.
The editors suggest that these stakeholders “understand all too well that if you silence dissent long enough, spread panic, and simultaneously impose austerity measures without respite” then even a determined population “will ultimately give up in the face of fatigue and survival”.
They go on to say that is “exactly what happened in Greece”. The tale of what happened to Greece and that “the Greek people ultimately accepted the miserable conditions inflicted upon them” is salutary as the book offers an understanding of the mechanics of sovereign debt. An important warning indeed where the editors have made “a distinct effort to engage views different to their own”.
The two authors and the 28 contributors put forward a step-by-step analysis of the debt phenomenon and how it affects human rights from many angles. The book begins by setting out the historical, political and economic context of sovereign debt. Then it addresses, in detail, the human rights dimension of the policies and activities of the three types of sovereign lenders: international financial institutions (IFIs), sovereigns and private lenders.
Bantekas and Lumina, together with an excellent team of global experts, review the link between debt how the accumulation of sovereign debt violates human rights. We found that the examination of some of the conditions imposed by structural adjustment programs on debtor States was very informative, offering as it does a view on how the servicing of their debt equally illuminating.
The contributors also reflect on how such conditions have been shown “to exacerbate the debt itself at the expense of economic sovereignty”. The conclusion (without giving too many spoilers) is that such measures “worsen the borrower's economic situation and are injurious to the entrenched rights of peoples”.
Indeed, this OUP title offers modern observations which will be of interest to a very wide readership after the events of 2015 and we were very grateful for the detail uncovered by the Greek Parliamentary Committee for all of us.
The book was published on 15th August 2018.
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