Key Concepts: Human Rights and the Economy

CESR’s primer on Sovereign Debt and Human Rights explores the unjust power dynamics behind countries’ public debt and how human rights can aid advocacy efforts. 

The primer is available in English, Spanish and Arabic.

This primer explores the unjust power dynamics behind countries' public debt, and how looking at the issue through a human rights lens can help advocacy efforts. Readers will find ways to challenge traditional thinking on the vicious cycle of external debt and analyze how government borrowing can boost both public services and the economy.

Human rights provide standards for the material conditions a society should guarantee to everyone. These standards, and the commitments that flow from them, can be leveraged to shift narratives about the economy and shift power in political debates. To help build a new story about what our economies are for and how they can be remade, we created Key Concepts, a new series made for anyone fighting for economic and social justice and in need of new inspiration and tools to catalyze change.

In each of the documents, you’ll find an overview of crucial human rights concepts that can aid us in building just and sustainable economies, plus practical examples of how they have been used by advocates. Activists, organizations, and everyone interested in learning more about the power of human rights can draw on them to explore issues such as economic responses to the pandemic, fiscal justice, and more.

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