COLOMBO (News 1st) – Human Rights Watch quoting economists says that the economic situation in Sri Lanka could deteriorate rapidly without action by foreign creditors, placing the basic needs of millions of people in further jeopardy.To stabilize the economy, international creditors should agree to restructure Sri Lanka’s debt so the country can secure final approval for an International Monetary Fund (IMF) loan and financing from other global agencies, it added.In April, Sri Lanka defaulted on over US$50 billion in debts to international creditors. In September, it reached a staff-level agreement with the IMF for a four-year, $2.9 billion bailout.
The first tranche of that bailout would ease the crippling shortage of foreign exchange and unlock access to other funding, including from the World Bank and Asian Development Bank, which cannot provide new funding until the IMF agreement is completed.Sri Lanka’s major foreign creditors, including China, Japan, and India, should urgently mitigate the adverse human rights impacts of the economic crisis. The IMF should use its procedures to make needed funds available as soon as possible, putting into place safeguards to protect people’s economic and social rights.And the Wickremesinghe administration should respect fundamental rights, including peaceful protest, it added.The dramatic fuel shortages that accompanied mass protests in Sri Lanka earlier this year may have eased, but for millions of Sri Lankans, the economic crisis is worse than ever.This month, the United Nations renewed a humanitarian appeal, stating that 28 per cent of the population faces food insecurity and that the poverty rate this year has doubled.Food price inflation was over 85 per cent in October, and
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