Tue, 09 Aug 2022

Geneva [Switzerland], June 30 (ANI): A number of non-government organizations (NGOs) have raised concern over rising public debt among the developing nations and China's debt-trap policy.

They were speaking at a side event "Public Dialogue on the Impact of Public Debt on Enjoyment of Human Rights: Sri Lankan Disaster, a Warning to Africa and Beyond" during the 50th Regular Session of the Human Rights Council.

The event was co-organized by the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, the Centre du Commerce International pour le Developpement (CECIDE), the International Centre against Terrorism, and La Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (RADDHO).

Panellists and participants from diverse backgrounds discussed the debt burden and its adverse effects on the socio-economic development of developing countries. The event came at a critical time when developing countries are calling for solutions to mitigate their debt crisis.

Opening the event, the Secretary-General, Interfaith International, and the RADDHO Programme Manager at the UN, Biro Diawara, highlighted the crucial need to act now.

He stated that high "public debt affects social rights and development. Do nothing, and several countries will collapse". He further highlighted the Chinese debt trap, which has given rise to China's indirect control in Sri Lanka, Zambia, and Madagascar, amongst other developing countries.

The General Secretary, British Tamils Forum (BTF), V Ravi Kumar, focused on the adverse effects of high public debt in Sri Lanka. He underlined that such public debt has resulted in increased human rights violations against the Tamil people.

Consequently, he called for justice and accountability for the Tamil people - and for the acquisition of Chinese loans to be stopped as - "China is only using Sri Lanka for its gain".

Aimable Uwizeye Mapendano, a Consultant at the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development (UNCTAD), flagged that countries in Africa also face high debt/spending.

Such actions are leading to food insecurity and human rights violations. However, to combat illicit financial flows and economically recover, civil society, parliaments, and Governments must engage in active dialogues. Author and Geopolitical Analyst, Priyajit Debsarkar underscored that the Chinese debt trap represents a new type of colonialism.

He, therefore, advised developing countries to pay close attention to the high-interest rates of Chinese banks. Whilst the Main Representative of the UN Office in Geneva, African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies (ACDHRS), Abdelbagi Jibril, noted that although international organizations are aware of the debt crisis faced by developing countries, no solution exists.

In this case, he called for the international community to write off such debt to avoid collapsed states. In conclusion, the message is clear: "the time to act is now".

Developing countries risk a permanent debt loop if urgent solutions do not exist. Nevertheless, the African Centre for Democracy and Human Rights Studies, the Centre du Commerce International pour le Developpement (CECIDE), the International Centre against Terrorism, and La Rencontre Africaine pour la Defense des Droits de l'Homme (RADDHO) are ready and eager to act.

Through this coalition, a submission will be made on the current debt crisis in Sri Lanka, at the next session of the Human Rights Council in September 2022. (ANI)

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