On HRC’s Agenda:
Effects of Foreign Debt and International Financial Obligations of States on the Full Enjoyment of All Human Rights – Avoiding a Post-Pandemic Austerity Fiscal Shock
Austerity measures represent the economic policies introduced by governments so as to cut down government spending in order to reduce public debt and to shrink the budget deficit.
Nonetheless, despite their seemingly well-intended nature, austerity measures lead to deepening inequalities, they weaken social security nets and jeopardise the ability of States to react and respond to immediate minimum core human rights obligations. In particular, the most vulnerable are affected by public spending cuts on the programmes that primarily benefit the least fortunate.
In the wake of the COVID-19 pandemic, a premature and severe shock may be imposed on the States’ populations, as governments are trying to manage the high levels of expenditure needed to cope with the pandemic. More often than not, instead of providing support for the people and the economy, States resort to fiscal austerity and a reduction of social welfare, sometimes even bordering infringements of human rights.
As foreign debt and financial obligations of countries have increased dramatically for the past period of time, the UNHRC needs to reassess the impact of such practices on human rights.
How can States act so as not to hinder the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights? Is economic austerity the only solution? Would it not affect precisely the most vulnerable segments of the population, which were already at risk of having their basic human rights infringed? Can governments uphold their international commitment to protecting human rights? What alternative pathways could be devised?
Meet Your Chair:
Hi everyone! My name is Finley Quinn and I will be one of your chairs for this year’s TEIMUN conference. I am American, but have lived the majority of my life abroad so I enjoy doing things such as MUN where I get to meet more international people and learn about different parts of the world. I am now in my final year of my bachelor in International and European Law at the University of Groningen, and intend to further my education by doing a Master in Commercial and Competition Law.
My MUN experience starts in 2017. At this time I had just moved to Norway and started the IB, where one of the CAS activities was to help with MUN. Upon helping, I realised I grew an affinity for it and started participating myself. I love the international aspect along with the randomness of it – as at the time countries were allocated to us and we had no say in which country we wanted to be. This was thrilling and allowed me to gain new perspectives into countries I might not necessarily know a lot about. I went to several conferences, the biggest of which was THIMUN which was located in the Hague and the King even came to the event! I then continued this passion for MUN and have done local MUN’s such as GrunnMUN, however, due to COVID this has proven more difficult as many events were cancelled.
Seeing as COVID measures seem to slowly be disappearing, I am very excited for the ‘hopefully’ in person conference this summer. I look forward to meeting you all and learning from what you have to say in a fruitful debate.
Fun Fact: I have metal in my arm.