Bringing Human Rights to Bear in Times of Crisis (March 2010)

Rethinking Bretton Woods | Tue, Mar 2, 2010

By Center of Concern, ESCR-Net and others

This report was co-authored by Center of Concern with Association for Women's Rights in Development (AWID), Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR), the Center for Women's Global Leadership at Rutgers, The State University of New Jersey (CWGL) and the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net).

ESCR-Net participants developed a questionnaire to engage civil society in determining how governments were meeting their human rights obligations in their economic policies and to generate reflection and input from a broad community of social justice activists. The questionnaire was based on a statement developed last year by ESCR-Net members in which almost 300 organizations and individuals call for a response to the financial crisis and economic recession that places human rights norms at the center, in which people and the environment, not banks or business, are at the foundation of economic policy-making, The questionnaire presented 8 broad questions on fiscal and monetary economic measures taken by governments since the start of the economic crisis in the mid-2007 relating to economic stimulus packages, tax policy reforms, social protection programs, financial measures and international dimensions of the crisis. The information, views and recommendations presented in this report are derived from the responses to that questionnaire, along with complementary research conducted on specific measures and country responses.

This report aims to deepen our understanding of how governments have conducted themselves and how effective economic policies have been in defending and strengthening the enjoyment of human rights in a time of multiple and interlocking social and economic crises. As governments and international institutions begin to grow complacent, arguing that the worst of the crisis is over, we aim to bring civil society voices into the debate which can attest to a different reality-a reality of deepening unemployment, further disenfranchisement of the most vulnerable, the breakdown of social safety nets and protection systems and the associated increase in unpaid work done mostly by women, increasing hunger and limited policy space particularly for developing country governments to act take the necessary actions to avoid and prevent economic and social breakdown.

Click here to download the report.