Global Justice Clinic Highlights UK Responsibility for Human Rights Impacts of Cross-Border Tax Abuse


In a submission co-authored with the Center for Economic and Social Rights (CESR) and the Tax Justice Network (TJN), the Global Justice Clinic has asked the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR) to examine the United Kingdom’s responsibility for the impacts of cross-border tax abuse on economic, social and cultural rights when the UK comes under review at the Committee’s 58th Session in June. The submission aims to build on the precedent set by the Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which in March became the first human rights treaty body to call on a State party to assess and publicly report on the extraterritorial human rights impacts of its tax and financial secrecy policies.

In preparation for the 65th Session in November 2016, CEDAW directed Switzerland to “provide information on the measures taken to ensure that the State party’s tax and financial secrecy policy does not contribute to large-scale tax abuse in foreign countries, thereby negatively impacting on resources available to realize women’s rights in those countries.” This development followed an earlier submission from the Global Justice Clinic, CESR, TJN and the Berne Declaration, which encouraged CEDAW to address the gendered human rights impacts of cross-border tax abuse as part of Switzerland’s review.  Both the United Kingdom and Switzerland rank among the top financial secrecy jurisdictions in the world.