The COVID-19 pandemic has reminded us how quickly a financial crisis can erupt. Such crises seriously threaten the enjoyment of economic and social rights. Recipes for crisis cures are written predominantly by international financial institutions (IFIs). These have gained significant influence yet still escape obligations to observe human rights. One of them is the European Stability Mechanism (ESM), which was established in the midst of the European sovereign debt crisis. Compared to other IFIs, the ESM presents a special case: although established outside the EU framework as an international organization, it is still very closely linked to the legal and institutional EU architecture. This dissertation clarifies the situation for the ESM and contributes to the debate on the role played by IFIs in the protection of human rights in the response to financial and economic crises.