Odious Debts

Let’s launch an enquiry into the debt! A manual on how to organise audits on Third World debts

A new guide to launching debt audits hopes to ‘untangle the web of debt.’

“If, for the creditors, the Third World debt can seem like a real gold mine, for the people living in the Third World, it feels more like a straight jacket,” reads the promotional material for a new how-to guide on auditing Third World debts.

Co-authored by debt campaigners The Committee for the Cancellation of Third World Debt (CADTM) and the Centre Europe-Tiers Monde (CETIM), “Let’s launch an enquiry into the debt!” presents debt audits as a way to disentangle the tangle of questions posed by debt.

“What has happened to the money of this loan? Under what conditions was this loan contracted? What share has been misappropriated? What crimes have been committed with this money?” are the puzzles the authors propose a debt audit can help to solve.

Debt audits, they contend, help “to clarify the past, to untangle the web of debt, thread by thread” and allow “us to reconstruct the sequence of events which have led to the present deadlock,” thus, enabling us “to avoid repeating the mistakes of the past.”

Published in October 2006, the manual, intended as a support tool for social movements, citizens, members of parliament, jurists and economists, is based on the results of two seminar contributions from Third World debt experts and activists, produced with the support of the American Association of Jurists (AAJ) and the South Centre (an intergovernmental organization of developing countries based in Geneva, Switzerland).

The full manual can be read here.

Categories: Odious Debts

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