Home » News

Amid Reports of War Crimes, IMF Gives More Funds to Sri Lankan Government and Spins on Human Rights

[Inner City Press, Friday, 20 November 2009 08:44 No Comment]

The International Monetary Fund’s seemingly dismissive attitude toward human rights, including labor rights and protections against ethnic cleansing and even torture, has been on display this month. Managing Director Dominique Strauss Kahn defended the IMF’s disbursement of funds to the government of Sri Lanka, without any conditions or safeguards, after detailed reports of presumptive war crimes.

When Inner City Press asked IMF spokesperson Caroline Atkinson if, in light of Mr. Strauss Kahn’s logic, the IMF ever considers human rights in disbursing funds or not, she laughed and called the question’s "premise… a bit misleading." Video here from Minute 9:07.

From the IMF’s sanitized transcript:

Inner City Press: Does the Managing Director’s November the 5th statement ‘regardless of one’s opinion of the human rights situation’ mean that the IMF never considers human rights?”

MS. ATKINSON: That’s another question where the premise is a bit misleading. The point that the Managing Director was making in his response to a letter from Human Rights Watch was—and as you know, the text of that letter talks quite directly about the Managing Director’s own feelings about the importance of human rights. And the point of that quote was that he was saying whatever you think about what rights and wrongs of what’s happening in Sri Lanka now, what is true is that an economic collapse would make lives worse for everybody. And, of course, usually the most vulnerable are most hurt by any economic collapse. So it was in that context he was explaining the reasoning behind the Fund’s economic support for Sri Lanka. Thank you all very much and have a good Thanksgiving.

In fact, even the Europe Commission in considering extending or suspending its GSP Plus favorable tariff treatment to Sri Lanka, has taken into account consideration of human rights and war crimes. By contrast, the IMF has argued against any duty to consider human rights. Even Strauss Kahn’s letter refers only to "humanitarian" issues, and uses this as an argument in favor of releasing more funds.

[Full Coverage]

(For updates you can share with your friends, follow TNN on Facebook, Twitter and Google+)

Comments are closed.