United Nations


General Assembly

Distr.: General

15 April 2014

Original: English

Human Rights Council

Twenty-fifth session

Agenda item 3

Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights, including the right to development

Resolution adopted by the Human Rights Council

25/16.Mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights

The Human Rights Council,

Guided by the Charter of the United Nations, the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action and other relevant international human rights instruments,

Reaffirming all resolutions and decisions adopted by the Commission on Human Rights and the Human Rights Council on the effects of structural adjustment and economic reform policies and foreign debt on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights,

Reaffirming also Human Rights Council resolution S-10/1 of 23 February 2009 on the impact of the global economic and financial crises on the universal realization and effective enjoyment of human rights,

RecallingHuman Rights Council resolutions 5/1, oninstitution-building of the Council, and 5/2, on the Code of Conduct for Special Procedures Mandate Holders of the Council, of 18 June 2007, and stressing that the mandateholder shall discharge his or her duties in accordance with those resolutions and the annexes thereto,

Bearing in mind paragraph 6 of General Assembly resolution 60/251 of 15 March 2006,

Stressing that one of the purposes of the United Nations is to achieve international cooperation in solving international problems of an economic, social, cultural or humanitarian character,

Emphasizing that the World Conference on Human Rights agreed to call upon the international community to make all efforts to help to alleviate the external debt burden of developing countries in order to supplement the efforts of the Governments of such countries to attain the full realization of the economic, social and cultural rights of their people,

Stressing the determination expressed in the United Nations Millennium Declaration to deal comprehensively and effectively with the debt problems of low- and middle-income developing countries through various national and international measures designed to make their debt sustainable in the long term,

Mindful of the role, mandate and activities of other United Nations agencies, funds and programmes in dealing with the issues of foreign debt and international financial obligations,

Acknowledging that there is greater acceptance that the increasing debt burden faced by the most indebted developing countries, in particular the least developed countries, is unsustainable and constitutes one of the principal obstacles to achieving progress in people-centred sustainable development and poverty eradication and that, for many developing countries and countries with economies in transition, excessive debt servicing has severely constrained their capacity to promote social development and provide basic services to create the conditions for the realization of economic, social and cultural rights,

Expressing its concern that, despite repeated rescheduling of debt, developing countries continue to pay out more each year than the actual amount they receive in official development assistance,

Affirming that debt burden further complicates the numerous problems facing developing countries, contributes to extreme poverty and is an obstacle to sustainable human development, and is thus a serious impediment to the realization of all human rights,

1.Recalls that every State has the primary responsibility to promote the economic, social and cultural development of its people and, to that end, has the right and responsibility to choose its means and goals of development and should not be subject to external specific prescriptions for economic policy;

2.Recognizes that structural adjustment reform programmes and policy conditionalities limit public expenditure, impose fixed expenditure ceilings and give inadequate attention to the provision of social services, and that only a few countries manage to achieve sustainable higher growth under these programmes;

3.Also r ecognizes that debt relief can play a key role in liberating resources that should be directed towards activities consistent with attaining sustainable growth and development, including poverty reduction and the achievement of development goals, including those set out in the United Nations Millennium Declaration, and therefore that debt relief measures, where appropriate, should be pursued vigorously and expeditiously, ensuring that they do not replace alternative sources of financing and that they are accompanied by an increase in official development assistance;

4.Recalls once again the call on industrialized countries, as expressed in the Millennium Declaration, to implement the enhanced programme of debt relief for heavily indebted poor countries without further delay and to agree to cancel all official bilateral debts of those countries in return for their making demonstrable commitments to poverty reduction;

5.Urges the international community, including the United Nations system, the Bretton Woods institutions and the private sector, to take appropriate measures and actions for the implementation of the pledges, commitments, agreements and decisions of major United Nations conferences and summits, including the Millennium Summit, the World Conference on Human Rights, the World Conference against Racism, Racial Discrimination, Xenophobia and Related Intolerance, the World Conference on Sustainable Development and the International Conference on Financing for Development, in particular those relating to the question of the external debt problem of developing countries, in particular of heavily indebted poor countries, least developed countries and countries with economies in transition;

6.Reiteratesits request to the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay more attention to the problem of the debt burden of developing countries, in particular of least developed countries, and especially the social impact of the measures arising from foreign debt;

7.Welcomes the work and contributions of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, and takes note with appreciation of his latest report submitted to the Human Rights Council;

8.Decides to extend the mandate of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, for a period of three years, and requests the Independent Expert to pay particular attention to:

(a)The effects of foreign debt and the policies adopted to address them on the full enjoyment of all human rights, in particular, economic, social and cultural rights in developing countries;

(b)The impact of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations on the capacity of States to design and implement their policies and programmes, including national budgets that respond to vital requirements for the promotion of the realization of social rights;

(c)Measures taken by Governments, the private sector and international financial institutions to alleviate such effects in developing countries, especially the poorest and heavily indebted countries;

(d)New developments, actions and initiatives being taken by international financial institutions, other United Nations bodies and intergovernmental and non-governmental organizations with respect to economic reform policies and human rights;

(e)Quantification of minimum standards to support the realization of the Millennium Development Goals;

(f)Enhancement of consultations with all relevant stakeholders in the fulfilment of the mandate;

9.Calls upon all Governments to cooperate with and assist the Independent Expert in the discharge of his or her mandate, to provide him or her with all the necessary information requested by him or her, and to give serious consideration to responding favourably to his or her requests to visit their countries in order to enable him or her to fulfil his or her duties effectively;

10. Urges international organizations, international financial institutions, non-governmental organizations and the private sector to cooperate fully with the Independent Expert in the discharge of his or her mandate;

11.Requests the High Commissioner to provide all the necessary human and financial resources for the effective fulfilment of the mandate by the Independent Expert;

12.Requests the Independent Expert to report regularly to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly in accordance with their respective programmes of work;

13.Decides to continue its consideration of this matter at its twenty-eighth session under the same agenda item.

54 th meeting

27 March 2014

[Adopted by a recorded vote of 30 to 14, with 3 abstentions. The voting was as follows:

In favour:

Algeria, Argentina, Benin, Botswana, Brazil, Burkina Faso, China, Congo, Costa Rica, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, Gabon, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Kuwait, Maldives, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, South Africa, United Arab Emirates, Venezuela (Bolivarian Republic of), Viet Nam


Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Republic of Korea, Romania, the former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern Ireland, United States of America


Chile, Mexico, Peru]