This contribution offers, using a human rights approach, an in-depth analysis of the links between economy, finance and human rights in Ukraine. The contribution describes the context in recent years, underscoring in particular the challenges faced by Ukraine in relation to the armed conflict. It presents the international human rights obligations and commitments of Ukraine, and it explains and critically assesses the links between economy and human rights in the country, focusing on the International Monetary Fund packages, assistance and conditionalities, fiscal consolidation from 2014 to the present, litigious or odious debt in relation to the credit being claimed by the Russian Federation, State budget law, right to social security, and women, austerity and discrimination. It also discusses the links between corruption, illicit financial flows and human rights, and it assesses specific initiatives in the area of anti-corruption institutions and organisations, such as the National Anti-Corruption Bureau, National Agency for the Prevention of Corruption, High Anti-Corruption Court, procurement reform and e-procurement, and asset recovery. State-owned enterprises and privatisations are also considered. Towards the end some concluding remarks and recommendations for discussion of a wide range of national and international stakeholders are presented.
The realisation of human rights is often affected by resource scarcity; hence the implementation of international human rights law obligations cannot be considered in isolation from economics and public finance. Shedding light on this vital link is central to the advancement of human rights.
As the recently approved by the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council (HRC) ‘Guiding Principles on human rights impact assessments of economic reforms’ provide, States should ensure that governmental departments, agencies and other State-based institutions that take part in and/or shape economic reform policies take into account States’ human rights obligations when fulfilling their respective mandates, and that policy coherence is guaranteed for short-, medium- and long-term economic reforms, in order to protect all human rights.
Yet, human rights legal theory is still underdeveloped when addressing the interlinks between economics, finance, governance (including corruption) and human rights. One of the reasons that helps understand this phenomenon is that this exercise requires an interdisciplinary approach with all the complexities that this entails.