人权理事会与外债影响问题专家和法官与律师独立性问题专家开展对话(部分翻译)

人权理事会
下午

2013年5月28日

理事会今日下午与国家的外债和其他有关国际金融义务对充分享有所有人权尤其是经济、社会和文化权利的影响问题独立专家和法官和律师独立性问题特别报告员开展互动对话。

外债影响问题独立专家西法斯·卢米纳表示,关于外债的官方倡议未能形成持久的解决方案。各国债务不断增长,限制了它们的发展前景和实现人权的能力。他谈到了对拉脱维亚的正式访问。

法官和律师独立性问题特别报告员加芙列拉·克瑙尔表示,各国的主要责任是在国家层面上落实法律援助,因此需要建立有效而可持续的法律援助系统,并借鉴国际人权标准和良好做法。她谈到了对巴基斯坦、萨尔瓦多和马尔代夫的访问,并提及在巴拿马城开展了一次磋商以审议中美洲的司法独立问题。  

委员会将在5月29日(周三)上午9点复会并开展一场小组讨论,关注各国议会对人权理事会工作及普遍定期审议的贡献。中午,理事会将开始有关叙利亚阿拉伯共和国恶化的人权状况及近期库萨尔屠杀事件的紧急辩论。理事会随后将继续开展有关外债影响问题和法官与律师独立性问题的集体互动对话。

Documentation

The Council has before it the report of the Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights (A/HRC/23/37); and an addendum to the report concerning the Independent Expert’s mission to Latvia (A/HRC/23/37/Add.1).

The Council has before it the report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers (A/HRC/23/43); a corrigendum to the report of the Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers (A/HRC/23/43/Corr.1); an addendum to the report concerning the Special Rapporteur’s mission to El Salvador (A/HRC/23/43/Add.1); an addendum to the report concerning the Special Rapporteur’s mission to Pakistan (A/HRC/23/43/Add.2); an addendum to the report concerning the Special Rapporteur’s mission to the Maldives (A/HRC/23/43/Add.3); and an addendum to the report concerning consultations in Panama (A/HRC/23/43/Add.4).

Presentation of Reports on the Effects of Foreign Debt on the Full Enjoyment of Human Rights and on the Independence of Judges and Lawyers

CEPHAS LUMINA, 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, presenting his report, said that for the past two decades the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund had coordinated international efforts to address the external debt of low-income countries through two mechanisms: the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries Initiative and the Multilateral Debt Relief Initiative.  According to the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund, the international debt relief efforts had “significantly reduced” the debt burdens of the participating low-income heavily indebted poor countries.  However, there was evidence to suggest that debt relief under the two initiatives had generally not reduced the vulnerability of heavily indebted poor countries, with many remaining deeply dependent on foreign borrowing and investment.  The most important limitation of those initiatives was that they were entirely creditor-driven.  Mr. Lumina said that in their current form the mechanisms in question could not provide a lasting and just solution to the debt crisis. 

Regarding his visit to Latvia in May 2012, Mr. Lumina said that his aim had been to assess the impact of the country’s external debt burden on the realization of all human rights.  Owing to its large current account deficit, high external debt and a very high loan to deposit ratio, Latvia had been forced to seek external financial support.  The country secured an international loan package and also implemented strict austerity measures, which included deep cuts in public spending, wage cuts, pension reductions and structural reforms.  Unemployment and cuts in benefits contributed to rising poverty and inequality in the country, and reforms to the health sector undermined access to healthcare.  Austerity measures had had a disproportionate impact on minorities with respect to employment opportunities, income and education.  Latvia should adopt a rights-based approach to policy-making and should also consider adopting social measures to ensure that the poor were not disproportionately affected by economic reforms.

GABRIELLA KNAUL, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, presenting her report, said that it focused on the issue of legal aid because of its importance as an essential element of a fair and efficient justice system based on the rule of law.  Legal aid represented an important safeguard that contributed to ensuring the fairness of and public trust in the administration of justice and was both a right in itself and an essential precondition for the exercise and enjoyment of a number of human rights.  Access to legal aid had to be made available to all individuals regardless of nationality or statelessness, including asylum-seekers, refugees, migrant workers and other persons that may find themselves in the territory or subject to the jurisdiction of a State.  States bore the primary responsibility to implement the right to legal aid at the domestic level and were thus required to develop an effective and sustainable legal aid system that drew from international human rights standards and recognised good practices.  Moreover, although legal aid was an essential feature of the right of access to justice, States should also take measures in other fields to guarantee this right, such as the simplification of judicial and extra-judicial procedures, the provision of legal information and education to the population, and the development of self-representation mechanisms, among others.

Concerning her visit to Pakistan, Ms. Knaul said a uniform legal system enshrined in the Constitution was necessary to avoid ambiguities and discrepancies in the administration of justice.  There was concern about reports of conflicts being resolved by informal justice systems that resulted in conflict resolution and punishments which were in contradiction with the domestic legislation, fundamental rights recognised in the Constitution, and international human rights standards.

On her visit to El-Salvador, Ms. Knaul said the current reality presented many new challenges with regard to the actual independence and impartiality of the judiciary.  Urgent reforms were essential to strengthen the proper functioning of the administration of the justice system, the institutional and functional independence and impartiality of judges, magistrates and prosecutors, and the free exercise of the legal profession by lawyers. 

With regards to her visit to the Maldives, she noted that despite constitutional safeguards aimed at ensuring respect for the separation of powers, there had been a number of situations where both the executive and legislative powers had directly or indirectly interfered with the independence of the judiciary.  It was important that the Government show strong and non-partisan leadership, pushing for constructive dialogue, guided by obligations under international human rights law.

A consultation was held in Panama City from 28 to 29 November 2012 to consider the current situation of the independence of the judiciary in Central America.  The administration of justice in Central America needed to be strengthened for the constitutionally and legally recognised principle of judicial independence to become a reality.  In light of the twentieth anniversary of the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action, all States were encouraged to renew their commitment to respect, protect and promote the independence of the judiciary, prosecutors and lawyers.  There were serious concerns about acts of reprisal against judges, prosecutors, lawyers and other actors of the judicial system that cooperated with United Nations and regional human rights mechanisms. 

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For use of the information media; not an official record