Volker Türk Calls for Human Rights Economy
The UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Volker Türk launched a call on April 20 for a “human rights economy”, warning that currently, economic systems are largely failing to address the basic needs of millions of people and failing to act sustainably.
“Too many people around the world cannot afford basic goods. They lack access to public services and are trapped in abject poverty, made worse in the wake of the Covid-19 pandemic and the cost-of-living crisis,” he said. “Add to this entrenched discrimination and structural inequality in our political, financial and economic systems, and the scourges of corruption, illicit financial flows and tax evasion.”
Türk called for fresh thinking, political leadership, renewed commitments, and scaled-up financing to ensure a human rights economy that benefits everyone, during this 75th anniversary year of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.
“Human rights must be central to economic decision-making which requires designing and assessing policies based on their impacts on people and their rights,” he said.
The High Commissioner stressed the need to promote budgets, taxation, trade policies, consumption and production patterns, investment decisions and business models that fully take on every country’s human rights obligations, including the right to a clean, healthy and sustainable environment.
Globally, Türk added that human rights-based economic policy must include putting in place human rights guardrails for international financial and development institutions, so that governments are not forced to undercut investments in rights to repay their foreign debt.
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