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Liz Nelson ■ Tax Justice & Human Rights: The 4 Rs and the realisation of rights

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Tax justice reports
Tax justice reports

Tax Justice & Human Rights: The 4 Rs and the realisation of rights

Every year 17 million more people could benefit from clean water and 34 million from basic sanitation, if revenue losses due to global tax abuse were reversed. These are fundamental human rights and are essential for survival. Over a ten-year period, these gains would be associated with the prevention of 600,000 child deaths and 73,000 maternal deaths.

Every year 17 million more people could benefit from clean water and 34 million from basic sanitation, if revenue losses due to global tax abuse were reversed. These are fundamental human rights and are essential for survival. Over a ten-year period, these gains would be associated with the prevention of 600,000 child deaths and 73,000 maternal deaths.

More generally the loss of revenue exacerbates intersectional inequality and drives deeper and shameful discrimination. Countries which facilitate tax abuse deprive governments of revenue, (especially critical in lower income-countries) and of the opportunity to reform or establish public services and the provision of human rights.

The findings from the GRADE modelling reinforce previous research acknowledging the importance of revenue to make a well-functioning, democratic and accountable government that fulfils its obligation as a duty bearer of human rights.

 

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The report will be available shortly in French, Portuguese and Spanish

 

Key Findings:

  • Using 2020 estimates from the first edition of the State of Tax Justice Report and projecting these over ten years (as tax abuse often takes place over decades), data modelled by the GRADE project  finds that if there were an increase in government revenue equivalent to the tax abuse, for countries where there is data available, the additional numbers accessing their fundamental human rights would be as follows:

Sanitation – 34 million people.
Drinking water – 17 million people.
An additional year at school – 3 million children.
Reduced child/maternal mortality – 600,000 children and 73,000 mothers

  • Sustainable revenue is fundamental to building a well-functioning, democratic and accountable government that fulfils its obligation as a duty bearer of human rights
  • The disparity of impact between revenue loss in higher-income countries and lower-income countries shows that small revenue increases have a very significant impact on fundamental human rights in lower-income countries.
  • Higher risks of illicit financial flows are likely to exacerbate revenue losses and the potential for public funds to be misdirected to secrecy jurisdictions.

 

Key Recommendations

  • Design and implement a UN Tax Convention, as recommended by the FACTI panel and long advocated for by the tax justice movement. This instrument will reverse the international failures of the global tax system and provide the urgent step change needed in the global governance of tax.
  • Establish an intergovernmental tax body under UN auspices to oversee the future negotiations of international rules.
  • Set up the mechanism to ensure the accountability of jurisdictions for imposing revenue losses on others, through the proposed Centre for Monitoring Taxing Rights.
  • Deliver urgent unilateral measures framed in accordance with the ABC financial transparency policy platform and many of the further recommendations of the FACTI Panel
  • In implementing the above recommendations, draw on a deeper understanding of intersectional inequalities in tandem with tax and fiscal knowledge expertise
  • Support collective efforts and willing coalitions to press national governments and to secure their political will, resources and coherence.

 

Additional Resources