Debt, Development, and Human Rights: Lessons from South Africa

This paper, through a case study of financial sanctions against South Africa, demonstrates that it is possible to design a development-oriented financial sanctions strategy against any country that violates the human rights of its citizens and in which government regulations, including exchange controls, result in foreign-owned financial assets being trapped in the target country. This strategy will both deprive the perpetrators of the human rights violations of new funds and will help redirect the blocked funds into activities that are designed to promote the political and socioeconomic development of the victims of the human rights abuses. The means for identifying appropriate development activities used in this strategy can also be used to test the human rights and developmental appropriateness of development projects that are not part of a sanctions campaign.