Our Initiative has sought to leverage the potential that tax policy has for the realization of human rights. To continue this mission, we are developing valuable research, partnerships and advocacy in the year 2022, which is coming to an end.
a prosperous year

2022, a prosperous year for tax justice

Our Initiative exists when the disconnection between Human Rights and Tax Policy is critical, with multiple regressive consequences that could have a worsening effect in contexts of economic instability or crisis and in the face of fiscal austerity measures —a particularly acute problem in Latin America and the Caribbean, a region marked by inequality, poverty rates, severe austerity measures, under-regulated exploitation of natural resources, and corruption.

In this scenario, since 2015, our Initiative has sought to advance the potential of Tax Policies in the execution of Human Rights. Following those steps, in this ending year, we developed research, partnerships, and advocacy actions of the utmost value for our purpose:

We produced relevant research to deepen the centrality of human rights in Tax Policy

In January 2022, we published seven papers describing how various economic actors other than the States have clear obligations in building and monitoring tax policies that guarantee Human Rights. Author Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky —who is also a Conicet researcher at the National University of Río Negro (Argentina) and a member of our Committee of Experts— explains how companies, regional and international organizations, universities, research centers, creditors, judges, among others, have golden opportunities to steer tax policies towards scenarios that combat poverty and inequality, as well as promote justice in all fields.

Then, in February, we published an article written by two researchers from the Center for Inclusive Policy, which, based on our Principles of Human Rights in Tax Policy, provides guidance to decision-makers, academics, social movements, and people with disabilities on how to include disability in the formulation and implementation of actions undertaken by governments to obtain and allocate public resources.

In 2022, our Initiative added three more publications: María Goenaga, a member of the Committee of Experts of our Initiative, reflects in a paper on how to strengthen tax morale in our region; Meggy Katigbak, a Philippine researcher and expert in tax and gender justice, wrote an article for our Initiative in which she refers to the direction that international financial institutions should take within the countries of the Global South. In another paper, all organizations that are part of our Steering Committee analyzed a series of fiscal measures taken by the governments of Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Ecuador, and Mexico during the Covid-19 health emergency.

We developed our Second Week for Tax Justice and Human Rights

From August 1 to 8, the eight organizations that are part of the Initiative, as well as experts, activists, and social movements, joined together to promote the Human Rights Principles in Tax Policy. In the Second Week for Fiscal Justice and Human Rights, we held four events, a network campaign on Argentina's foreign debt and a course for journalists and civil society to open debates and think together about how to promote fiscal measures in response to the multiple crises facing the region.

Those spaces also reflected how governments could use the Principles of Human Rights in Tax Policy to move toward economies that put people and the planet first —post-pandemic recovery, inequalities impacting women, LGBTQ+ people, and people with disabilities, the cannabis regulatory debate, and the climate crisis, among other issues, were on the agenda.

Our Principles were part of the agendas of important international stakeholders

The Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (IACHR) published its annual report for 2021, which compiled the Human Rights situation in the region, with its progress and challenges. In the section in which the Commission and REDESCA refer to economic, social, cultural, and environmental rights, the organizations celebrated the adoption and publication of our Principles and Guidelines on Human Rights in Tax Policy, and mentioned that our Initiative, "led by a group of prominent organizations and experts from regional civil society," constitutes a tool that contributes to the application of Inter-American standards in this area "and is useful for the bodies of the Inter-American system, as well as for OAS Member States and other relevant actors."

The same year, two multilateral organizations cited them during discussions on international cooperation in Tax Policy and the fight against extreme poverty. The first discussion was during the 77th session of the UN General Assembly (July 2022), where a report by Attiya Waris —the independent expert on the Consequences of Foreign Debt— 'Towards a global fiscal architecture from a human rights perspective' was released. Based on our Principles, Waris mentions that they are "unequivocal"; she says that States' obligations "go beyond unilateral efforts at the national level. All countries have extraterritorial obligations to ensure that legislation and tax policy respect and protect Human Rights beyond their borders."

The second mention is in a statement of the Council of Europe's Commissioner for Human Rights, Dunja Mijatović, in the face of increasing extreme poverty in the world, and in which, referring to our Initiative, she assures that tax policies based on Human Rights "can also help find adequate alternatives to austerity, thus preventing social crises, and help reverse inequality by alleviating the disproportionate burden borne by low-income people in some countries."

Our principles shed light on regional issues

Our region was on edge in September with the plebiscite vote asking Chilean citizens whether or not they wanted a new Constitution, since the one left by the dictatorship of former President Augusto Pinochet was still in force. In that moment of citizen discussion, our Initiative presented our Principles for Human Rights in Tax Policy to the Chilean Undersecretary of Finance, Claudia Sanhueza, because they could illuminate the path of a possible new Constitution in fiscal and Human Rights matters. Though the outcome was the opposite for that purpose, we were also part of an important meeting called #ReimaginaLa, in which 40 organizations contributed to thinking about the future of Chile and Latin America.

Then, in October, there were the presidential elections in Brazil, which is still facing a political, social, and economic moment that is difficult to overcome. The former government of Jair Bolsanoro (2019-2022) deepened the divisions between those who support and do not support the Workers' Party (PT) while imposing a radical economic agenda that seriously affected social policies. So, when the presidential elections arrived and Bolsonaro faced off against fellow former president Luiz Inácio Lula da Silva, our partner organization Inesc delivered our Principles for Human Rights in Tax Policy to the team in charge of Lula's economic policy. With the victory of Lula, we hope that our document will be a roadmap for his next government.

At the same time, in Colombia, the new government of Gustavo Petro proposed a progressive tax reform that faced multiple political and legislative obstacles to pass, our partner organization Dejusticia provided the public with valuable information on how this reform could include several of our principles.

We close the year with a major meeting in Chile.

Nearly 400 people from social movements, trade unions, and civil society organizations from around the world met from November 29 to December 2 in Santiago de Chile for the #OFiP22 (Our Future is Public) conference, which sought to develop strategies and narratives to strengthen public services and ensure the realization of economic, social and cultural rights.

Most of our organizations were present in dialogues and the construction of collective proposals. We bring out the panel "Tax cooperation and Human Rights: How to mobilize resources for a green transition and with a gender perspective in Latin America?" with Liz Nelson, Director of Tax Justice and Human Rights at Tax Justice Network, and two of the members of our Expert Committee: Magdalena Sepúlveda, Executive Director of the Global Initiative for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (IG-ESCR), and Rodrigo Uprimny, from Dejusticia.



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