Export Credits, Sovereign Debt, and Human Rights

Document Type

Book Chapter

Publication Date



Banking and Finance Law, Human Rights Law, Sovereign debt, the functioning of many modern states, impact on human rights


Sovereign debt is necessary for the functioning of many modern states, yet its impact on human rights is underexplored in academic literature. Without understanding how debt accumulates, it is impossible to realise the impact it can have on the individual. Taking the big three sovereign lenders of the international financial institutions, the sovereigns, and the private lenders, Bantekas and Lumina ask what the human rights dimensions of their policies are. How do debt-influencing mechanisms and vulture funds enter the mix? What happens to human rights when sovereign debt accumulates? What happens to people's rights when structural adjustment programmes are imposed on debtor states, in attempts to service their debts? For the first time Bantekas and Lumina assemble a team of experts, both lawyers and non-lawyers, to arrive at a variety of conclusions: that the imposition of structural adjustment programmes on debtor states, far from solving the complex problem of sovereign debt, in fact exacerbates the debt, damages the state's economic sovereignty, injures the entrenched rights of peoples, and worsens the borrower's economic situation.