Europe: UN expert to assess impact of Iceland’s banking crisis on social and economic rights

Reykjavik, December 04, 2014.- The United Nations Independent Expert on foreign debt, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, will visit Iceland from 8 to 15 December 2014 to gather information about the impact of the country’s financial collapse and its economic adjustment programme on the realization of human rights.

“I will pay close attention to how the banking crisis affected the right to work, social security, housing, health and education and particular social groups,” Mr. Bohoslavsky said, launching the first fact-finding mission to Iceland by an independent expert charged by the UN Human Rights Council to monitor and report on the impact of foreign debt on the enjoyment of human rights.

“Iceland is widely considered as having chosen a particular response to the financial crisis, and there have been efforts aimed at ensuring public participation, but as well political and judicial accountability,” he noted.

The Independent Expert will also study the efforts undertaken by the Government of Iceland to avert negative social impacts for its own population. “We need to know better what States can do to avert negative human rights impacts when they are facing a serious debt crisis or have to undergo painful economic adjustment,” he said.

Mr. Bohoslavsky, who visits the country at the invitation of the Icelandic authorities, will meet with senior Government officials from several ministries and State institutions. He will also meet with the President of the Supreme Court, Members of Parliament, the International Monetary Fund, ombudspersons, local human rights institutions, civil society and academic experts.

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