HRC 55: SRI Statement to the Interactive dialogue with the Independent Expert on Foreign Debt

Published on March 11, 2024

Thank you, President.

I make this statement on behalf of Akahata - Equipo de trabajo en sexualidades y géneros, as part and on behalf of the Sexual Rights Initiative.

On this International Women’s Day, we welcome the report of the Independent Expert on fiscal legitimacy through human rights and its recognition that the global financial system was largely designed by the global North for its own interests1, ignoring women from colonized States and from the Global South2, and that it continues to further gender and racial discrimination3. As noted in the report, military spending by Global North states reflects their priorities and disregard for basic human rights4 - and we remind states in the Global North that their military aid and arms exports currently contribute to the genocide of the Palestinian people in Gaza, in violation of the current ICJ provisional measures order5.

The Expert affirms that those with fiscal authority must be committed to protecting the most vulnerable and that debt is a clear challenge to fiscal legitimacy. The peoples of the global South know this, because in the name of debt repayment, structural adjustment measures are taken that plunge them into poverty and especially attack their economic, social, cultural and environmental rights. These measures fall hardest on women, because one result of the adjustment is the transfer of an enormous amount of unpaid care work to the domestic sphere, which as the report notes is an unrecognized economy6.

There must be debt justice and reparations for colonialism, the illegitimate “debts” it caused, and the harms and conditions imposed for their repayment, and for this reason we agree with the Expert's recommendation that all debts and conditionalities should be canceled by the IMF, World Bank and other lenders.7


1.  A/HRC/55/54, para. 13(e).

2.  A/HRC/55/54, para. 13(c).

3.  A/HRC/55/54, para. 13(h).

4. A/HRC/55/54, para. 13(b).


6. A/HRC/55/54, para. 3.

7. A/HRC/55/54, para. 52.