Latest News

IMF policies undermine human rights, says UN expert

Wednesday, October 18, 2017

Print this page Email A Friend!

WASHINGTON, United States (AFP) — The International Monetary Fund's lending policies are undermining United Nations human rights and development goals, an independent expert commissioned by the UN said Wednesday.

In nations facing poverty and health crises, the global crisis lender's conditions on support can weaken social spending and hinder countries' respect for human rights, increasing unemployment, lowering labour standards and harming public health and the environment, according to a report by the expert.

"The human rights dimension in lending can no longer be ignored," said its author, Alfred de Zayas, appointed by the UN's Human Rights Council and tasked with promoting fairness in the international order.

"I deplore the fact that the lending practices of the international financial institutions sometimes go against the aims of the United Nations, not just in the field of human rights, but also in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals."

In his report, de Zayas said the IMF insisted on aggressive privatization and austerity measures. Following political crises and in times of debt and economic distress in Greece, Argentina and Tunisia, the report said, IMF policies imposed "extreme conditions" that required cuts to social spending while millions lacked health care or were jobless but not receiving unemployment benefits. This year, according to de Zayas, the IMF suspended loan disbursals to Tunisia while demanding the privatisation of state-owned banks and the abolition of 10,000 public sector jobs.

The UN expert also cited academic commentary according to which conditions on IMF support — which required borrowers to demonstrate rapid growth and conservative fiscal policies — weakened African countries' ability to respond to the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

IMF representatives told AFP they had no comment on the UN report and referred questions to a recent statement from the Fund's steering committee, which welcomed IMF support for achieving the UN Sustainable Development Goals, which call for eradicating poverty by 2030.


Now you can read the Jamaica Observer ePaper anytime, anywhere. The Jamaica Observer ePaper is available to you at home or at work, and is the same edition as the printed copy available at




1. We welcome reader comments on the top stories of the day. Some comments may be republished on the website or in the newspaper � email addresses will not be published.

2. Please understand that comments are moderated and it is not always possible to publish all that have been submitted. We will, however, try to publish comments that are representative of all received.

3. We ask that comments are civil and free of libellous or hateful material. Also please stick to the topic under discussion.

4. Please do not write in block capitals since this makes your comment hard to read.

5. Please don't use the comments to advertise. However, our advertising department can be more than accommodating if emailed:

6. If readers wish to report offensive comments, suggest a correction or share a story then please email:

7. Lastly, read our Terms and Conditions and Privacy Policy

comments powered by Disqus



Today's Cartoon

Click image to view full size editorial cartoon