The Heavily Indebted Poor Countries (HIPC) initiative under the auspices of the World Bank and the International Monetary Fund (IMF) have adopted a set of terms of reference (ToR) for the preparation of so-called Poverty Reduction Strategy Papers (PRSPs) by countries that are eligible for debt relief. It is a condition imposed by the Bretton Woods institutions that PRSPs be prepared and approved to qualify for debt relief. This study contribution sets out to investigate whether and to what extent those terms of reference were informed by human rights concerns in any form - explicitly or implicitly. In view of the fact that the articles of agreement of neither the IMF nor the World Bank make reference to human rights instruments, it is hypothesised that no explicit reference is made to human rights in the ToR for the PRSPs. However, there is reason to believe that both civil and political rights as well as economic and social rights are implicitly treated in the ToR and in the PRSP documents themselves. PRSPs for selected African countries will be analysed with a view ascertaining the degree to which a human rights discourse has been alive in the participatory processes leading up to the resultant PRSPs.


Human Rights Programme

Jan 1983 - Dec 2010

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