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[afro-nets] Food for a thought not-committed to

Food for a thought not-committed to

Human Rights reader 95

Two non-actors in Human Rights

1. The World Bank has a Human Rights problem: it does not re-
spect them enough; a pity, because it should harness the inspi-
rational power human rights (HR) bring with them and thus rekin-
dle the HR hopes of literally billions of people. (S. Ebadi,
editorial page, International Herald Tribune, 17/6/2004) The
Bank also disregards the central issue of income-distribution
and does not adhere to the-principles-of-sustainable-develop-
ment. It still seems to believe that technological progress
somehow automatically leads to a more effective use of the huge
resources it invests. [This, perhaps because most of its analy-
ses cover the short term?] (N. Michaelis, D+C 31:4, April 2004,
pp.162-163) Ideologically motivated, it believes that to promote
growth, to privatize, to deregulate and to liberalize are neces-

2. Bottom line: For the International Financial Institutions
(IFIs) (of which the Bank is one), what remains an uncontestable
truth is that discrepancies clearly persist between their vi-
sion, their pronouncements and the realities on the ground.

3. On the other hand, the IMF (the IFI par-excellence) never
pays much attention to income-taxes and property-taxes and to
the need-to-combat-tax-evasion; it focuses too heavily on cut-
ting-public-employment or capping-public-sector-wages; further-
more, having resorted to apply excessively-detailed-conditio-
nality has clearly not been effective. The IMF's tight policies
have rather promoted 'salvation through suffering' -- and this
is not very much in the spirit of human (people's) rights. [All
this, the careful reader can find recognized in F&D, the Journal
of the IMF itself, e.g., 41:1, March 2004, pp.43, 44, 49].

Claudio Schuftan
Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam

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