The International Monetary Fund's lending policies are actively undermining the United Nations' human rights and development goals, according to an independent expert commissioned by the UN.

Alfred de Zayas was appointed by the UN's Human Rights Council and tasked with promoting fairness in the international order.

He says the IMF’s policies also promote the "failed" policies of privatisation and austerity.

In nations facing poverty and health crises, the IMF's conditions on support can weaken social spending and hinder countries' respect for human rights, increasing unemployment, lowering labour standards and harming public health and the environment, according to his report.

"The human rights dimension in lending can no longer be ignored," said Mr de Zayas.

"I deplore the fact that the lending practices of the international financial institutions sometimes go against the aims of the United Nations, not just in the field of human rights, but also in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals."

In his report, Mr de Zayas said the IMF insisted on aggressive privatisation and austerity measures.

Following political crises and in times of debt and economic distress in Greece, Argentina and Tunisia, the report said, IMF policies imposed "extreme conditions" that required cuts to social spending while millions lacked health care or were jobless but not receiving unemployment benefits.

This year, according to Mr de Zayas, the IMF suspended loan disbursals to Tunisia while demanding the privatisation of state-owned banks and the abolition of 10,000 public sector jobs.

The UN expert also cited academic commentary according to which conditions on IMF support - which required borrowers to demonstrate rapid growth and conservative fiscal policies - weakened African countries' ability to respond to the 2014 Ebola epidemic.

He urged the IMF to abandon its "outdated" insistence on "Wild West" privatisation, market deregulation and austerity in social services, which he argued had failed to ensure economic stability and engendered human rights violations.

Mr de Zayas is currently professor of international law at the Geneva School of Diplomacy.