Title

Economic inequality and human rights impact assessments of economic reforms

Author Information

Gillian MacNaughton

Date of Publication

2020 12:00 AM

Keywords

econoic inequality, vertical inequality, human rights impacts, assessments, economic reforms

Description

For over a decade, activists and scholars have sounded alarms over the extreme and growing economic inequalities in the world. In 2020, Forbes reported that there were 2095 billionaires in the world, while the World Bank recorded that 3.5 billion people lived on less than the poverty line of $5.50 per day. Such inequalities prevent the full realisation of human rights, undermine democracy and threaten peace. Economic inequalities are not inevitable however. They are the result of policy choices. As governments are obligated to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, they must take steps to ensure that their actions are consistent with their human rights obligations. Human rights impact assessment is an evidence-based method to aid governments in considering the potential human rights effects of policy options. The UN Independent Expert on Debt and Human Rights recently issued Guiding Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessment of Economic Reforms. This article reviews the Guiding Principles and argues for including a Guiding Principle on economic inequality in order to ensure that governments consider the impact of economic reforms on income and wealth inequality as critical causes of human rights violations.

 
COinS
 
Jan 1st, 12:00 AM

Economic inequality and human rights impact assessments of economic reforms

For over a decade, activists and scholars have sounded alarms over the extreme and growing economic inequalities in the world. In 2020, Forbes reported that there were 2095 billionaires in the world, while the World Bank recorded that 3.5 billion people lived on less than the poverty line of $5.50 per day. Such inequalities prevent the full realisation of human rights, undermine democracy and threaten peace. Economic inequalities are not inevitable however. They are the result of policy choices. As governments are obligated to respect, protect and fulfil human rights, they must take steps to ensure that their actions are consistent with their human rights obligations. Human rights impact assessment is an evidence-based method to aid governments in considering the potential human rights effects of policy options. The UN Independent Expert on Debt and Human Rights recently issued Guiding Principles on Human Rights Impact Assessment of Economic Reforms. This article reviews the Guiding Principles and argues for including a Guiding Principle on economic inequality in order to ensure that governments consider the impact of economic reforms on income and wealth inequality as critical causes of human rights violations.