The global economic and financial crisis is fast becoming a human rights crisis.
At the start of the 'UN conference on the World Financial and Economic Crisis and its Impact on Development' in New York, CESR urged world leaders in New York to sieze the opportunity to place human rights principles, not profit, at the heart of crisis responses, economic policy and global economic governance. See CESR's public statement in our News Room.
At CESR, we are working to ensure that human rights are not forgotten as governments meet to discuss what can be done to respond to the crisis. A human rights approach challenges complacency over the terrible consequences of the economic crisis on human lives and human dignity. Many organizations are estimating how many millions of people will lose their homes, their livelihoods, their incomes, their health and education. The World Bank, for example estimates that up to 400,000 children will die this year as a result of the crisis.
But these terrible consequences of the crisis often are accepted as inevitable, as if there is nothing that we can do about them. A human rights approach challenges this complacency - it is not inevitable, and nor is it acceptable to accept these losses to human life and dignity. We have to reorder our priorities and put people first. Indeed governments have obligations under human rights conventions to prioritize the fulfillment of "minimum essential levels" of economic and social rights, to guard against any discrimination and to target the most vulnerable. These obligations are not derogable - they become even more essential in times of crisis. It is not acceptable that governments can allocate billions of dollars for banking bailouts, yet make few resources available to prevent as many as 400,000 children from dying during the crisis.
See our Rights in Times of Crisis page for more resources on human rights and the economic crisis.