From issue: Memos to the President Elect (Fall 2008)
Support Debt-for-Human Rights Swaps
"Debt-for-human-rights' swaps would exchange sovereign debt for commitments by countries to invest in the institutions, programs and policies to protect human rights."
As a human rights defender who works primarily in Latin America, I am reminded every day of the region’s profoundly unjust realities: the prevalence of urban and rural violence; the disenfranchisement of the poor and the alienation of vast sectors of the citizenry from basic rights and services; the rampant levels of impunity for outrageous acts of abuse; the persistent and complex manifestations of discrimination against women; and the lack of transparency and accountability in public finances. I also see daily stories of courage and dignity in the work of human rights defenders, public officials and men and women who put their lives and well-being at risk to secure fundamental rights and democratic values.
Mr. President-elect, by devoting your country’s political and economic resources to strengthening the inter-American system of human rights, you would put the U.S. squarely on the side of democracy and human rights—while providing crucial support to address some of the region’s most critical needs…