The Castan Centre for Human Rights Law and the Human Rights Law Resource Centre present

Dr Cephas Lumina, United Nations Independent Expert on the Effects of Foreign Debt and Financial Obligations on Human Rights

Preying on the Poor: Vulture Funds, Foreign Debt and Human Rights in Developing Countries

10 February 2011
Held at Monash University Law Chambers, 472 Bourke Street, Melbourne




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Dr Cephas Lumina is the UN Independent Expert on the Effects of Foreign Debt and other Related International Financial Obligations on Human Rights. 

Dr Lumina is also Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria, South Africa and an international human rights consultant, working with the UN Development Programme, Canadian International Development Agency, Swedish International Development Agency and the Open Society Initiative, among others.  He has over 20 years' experience practising and teaching law and human rights in Australia, South Africa, Swaziland, Sweden, Uganda and Zambia. 

In his capacity as Independent Expert, Dr Lumina has been a leading advocate of debt relief to heavily indebted poor countries and of legislation to prevent profiteering by ‘vulture funds'.  ‘Vulture funds' are operated by private investment firms which purchase poor countries' foreign debt at a heavily discounted price and then seek to recover the full amount of the debt, plus interest and late fees, through legal proceedings in countries such as the US, UK and Australia.

According to Dr Lumina, "The settlement of excessive vulture fund claims by poor countries with unsustainable debt levels has a direct negative effect on the capacity of governments of these countries to fulfil their human rights obligations, especially economic, social and cultural rights, such as the rights to health, water and sanitation, food, housing and education."






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