Summary of the 1 March 2016 session at the European Parliament “Restructuring of debt – reconstruction of democracy”

Video: Cephas Lumina: “The Paris Club has no legitimacy”

17 March 2016 by Cephas Lumina


Several members of the Greek Debt Truth Committee (GDTC) attended the session on 1st March 2016 at the European Parliament in Brussels on the topic “Restructuring of debt – reconstruction of democracy”.

The session was organized by Nikolaos Chountis, Vice-minister of the first Tsipras government (January-July 2015) and MEP representing Popular Unity since September 2015, replacing Manolis Glezos. The conclusions of the GDTC’s report enabled the participants to throw new light on the diktats imposed on Greece by creditors and the European authorities.

Here we propose to take a closer look at the contributions of four of those present. Cephas Lumina, member of the GDTC, professor, former Independent Expert to the UN Human Rights Council specializing in the impact of foreign debt on the full exercise of human rights.

Cephas Lumina: “The Paris Club Paris Club This group of lender States was founded in 1956 and specializes in dealing with non-payment by developing countries.

has no legitimacy”

According to UN principles adopted and approved by the Council for Human Rights in 2012, the preservation of fundamental human rights takes precedence over the rights of creditors.

Despite their presence in international texts and jurisdictions, these principles have never been applied in the countries of the European Union or the United States, who refute, quite wrongly, the UN’s legitimacy to deliberate on matters of debt restructuring. Cephas Lumina mentions the critical role played by the Paris Club, an organization devoid of any legitimacy, and the IMF IMF
International Monetary Fund
Along with the World Bank, the IMF was founded on the day the Bretton Woods Agreements were signed. Its first mission was to support the new system of standard exchange rates.

When the Bretton Wood fixed rates system came to an end in 1971, the main function of the IMF became that of being both policeman and fireman for global capital: it acts as policeman when it enforces its Structural Adjustment Policies and as fireman when it steps in to help out governments in risk of defaulting on debt repayments.

As for the World Bank, a weighted voting system operates: depending on the amount paid as contribution by each member state. 85% of the votes is required to modify the IMF Charter (which means that the USA with 17,68% % of the votes has a de facto veto on any change).

The institution is dominated by five countries: the United States (16,74%), Japan (6,23%), Germany (5,81%), France (4,29%) and the UK (4,29%).
The other 183 member countries are divided into groups led by one country. The most important one (6,57% of the votes) is led by Belgium. The least important group of countries (1,55% of the votes) is led by Gabon and brings together African countries.
in promoting the interests of creditors to the detriment of protection for fundamental human rights.

To access complete coverage of this session, use the following link:

And contributions of :

- Zoe Konstantopoulou : “The Greek Debt Truth Committee’s final report scared the creditors.”
- Eric Toussaint : “The Greek public debt crisis is a web of lies”
- Maria-Lucia Fattorelli : “Before anything else can be done, there must be a debt audit”

Translated by Vicki Briault and Mike Krolikowski (CADTM)

Cephas Lumina

Member of the Committee, Professor Lumina is a Research Professor of Public Law at the University of Fort Hare and an Extra-Ordinary Professor of Human Rights Law at the University of Pretoria. He served as the United Nations Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debt and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights from 2008 to 2014. In 2013, he produced the United Nations special report on Greece and Human Rights.


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