How is austerity impacting human rights in the euro-mediterranean region ? EuroMed Rights publishes today a new factsheet looking at the role of International Financial Institutions (IFIs) on the spread of austerity. Read it here.
Austerity is far from a thing of the past, and it continues to impact human rights globally. In 2023, it is projected that 85% of the global population will face the repercussions of austerity measures as governments are trying to free up fiscal space during economic crisis. However, cuts to public spending, wages, social protection, and welfare exacerbate societal inequalities, including gender disparity.
Such measures can have devastating effects on human rights, for example by violating the principles of non-retrogression and ensuring maximum available resources for the investment into economic and social rights. EuroMed Rights publication highlights how austerity is a crucial issue in the region, where cuts to social spending and labour reforms have had severe consequences on both shores of the Mediterranean, and impacted the most vulnerable population in Greece, the UK, Egypt and Jordan.
Austerity is presented by some governments and international financial institutions like the International Monetary Fund (IMF) as a way to free up fiscal space and reduce debt. However, austerity can violate labour rights, the right to social security, the right to education, healthcare, an adequate standard of living, and protection from discrimination. Hence, the imposition of austerity policies, especially in times of financial crisis, is in conflict with the enjoyment of human rights. There are alternatives to austerity: increasing tax revenues, expanding social security coverage and contributory revenues for social protection, borrowing or restructuring debt, re-allocating public expenditures are just some examples.
Fiscal policy making is not a technical issue at the discretion of governments; it’s a matter of justice and rights. It must be in line with human rights principles and done in an inclusive and transparent manner that is accountable to the population.
Read more here!