UN Expert Warns on Social Impact of Austerity in Puerto Rico
United Nations, Jan 9 (Prensa Latina) The UN independent expert on external debt and human rights, Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky, has warned that an increase in austerity measures in Puerto Rico will trigger poverty and a desperate situation for many people.
'It will aggravate the already intolerable levels of poverty in the country and threaten human rights,' he said in a statement.
According to the Argentinean expert, ensuring financial stability, controlling public debt and reducing budget deficits are important objectives, but should not be achieved at the expense of human rights.
Bohoslavsky called for significant debt reduction to achieve sustainable financial and social levels.
Last year, the US Congress approved a Supervision and Financial Administration Board for Puerto Rico, which is responsible for dealing with the crisis.
The Board must ensure that economic, social and cultural rights are not affected by giving absolute priority to the rights of creditors and the imposition of excessive austerity, said the expert, who has invited the United States to visit the island.
According to Bohoslavsky, the Caribbean island's fiscal plan needs to prevent further damage to those in vulnerable situations.
'Reform measures must guarantee the protection of the rights to health, food, housing and social security (...) The island simply can not afford higher levels of austerity,' he insisted.
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