The European Parliament discusses human rights clauses in EU trade agreements

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The European Parliament is assessing the need for all EU trade agreements to contain human rights clauses. The Parliament’s analysis echoes the continued demands by FIDH on this matter.

9 June 2023. On 22 May 2023, FIDH was invited by the European Parliament to participate as an expert in a hearing of the Subcommittee on Human Rights. FIDH was asked to comment on Assessment of the implementation of the human rights clause in international and sectoral agreements of the EU, an in-depth analysis the Parliament just published.

The hearing revealed the growing consensus - called on by FIDH - about the need that all trade agreements concluded by the EU contain human rights clauses. Agreements should also provide for permanent human rights committees with a mandate to monitor the implementation of the parties’ obligations, as set out in the respective essential elements clause.

Agreements should also provide for complaints mechanisms, based on the Single Entry Point (SEP) of the European Commission’s Directorate-General for Trade, to allow private and public actors to complain about failures of parties to comply with human rights clauses. FIDH’s assessment was shared by the two other speakers - Lorand Bartels, Professor of International Law at the University of Cambridge (United Kingdom), and Emily O’Reilly, European Ombudsman.

FIDH welcomes this development echoing its stance, also called for multiple times by the European Parliament, and hopes the European Commission will not remain deaf to these longstanding demands.

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