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Principles for Human Rights in Fiscal Policy: a necessary input to discuss the Business and Human Rights agenda

This October, CESR (as part of the Initiative for Human Rights Principles in Fiscal Policy) participated in two events in which the Principles for Human Rights in Fiscal Policy were highlighted.

In the VI Regional Forum on Business and Human Rights for Latin America and the Caribbean, the Initiative and CESR held a thematic panel that centered on the responsibility of companies to contribute to States' capacity to collect tax revenue effectively. In the context of discussing a roadmap for the coming years of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, it is crucial to dedicate more efforts to combat the problems of tax evasion and avoidance, illicit financial flows and abusive tax benefits.

Soledad García Muñoz (Rapporteur on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights of the Inter-American Human Rights System), Julieta Izcurdia (Civil Association for Equality and Justice) and Andrés Arauz (expert in fiscal policy and former Minister of Ecuador) participated in the event. In order to advance in the goal of promoting regulations in the field that are more aligned with the human rights norms, the panelists highlighted: 

  • The need to promote greater access to tax information and evaluation of tax expenditures. Tax expenditures are not necessarily bad, but their opacity can transform them into privileges, foster corruption and increase inequality.

  • The need to regulate international financial flows based on mechanisms of economic governance in which all States have equal voice and vote

  • Human rights norms impose extraterritorial obligations on States, based on which they must refrain from adopting any conduct that undermines the ability of another State to finance rights, such as facilitating tax evasion or promoting aggressive fiscal conduct and its consequent "race to the bottom" in the taxation of multinational companies.

Update: Drawing on the Principles for Human Rights in Fiscal Policy, CESR and the Initiative sent several suggestions to include a series of human rights standards applicable to fiscal policy in the Business and Human Rights Roadmap for the next 10 years. Some of these considerations were included in the new roadmap, available in Spanish here.