China: European parliament freezes controversial EU-China investment deal

FIDH welcomes the decision taken by the European parliament on May 20 to freeze the ratification of the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI). Adopted by an overwhelming majority, the resolution uncompromisingly denounces China for violations committed against the Uyghur Muslim minority in the Xinjiang region that could “constitute crimes against humanity under international law" and for the crackdown on the democratic opposition in Hong Kong.

FIDH and its members organisations, ICT and HRIC, advocated for the EU to take a stronger position and condemned the Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI) negotiated between the EU and China as being unable to ensure that the investments encouraged by the agreement would comply with international law. Building on its longstanding work denouncing the systematic discrimination against Uighurs, forced labour and the lack of results of the ‘business as usual’ EU policy which relied mainly on an ineffective dialogue, FIDH initiated a coordinated NGO campaign for the ‘Inclusion of Enforceable Human Rights Clauses in the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment’ and held briefings with EU Member States, members of the European parliament, and the European Commission.

In a hearing before the European parliament, FIDH member organisation HRIC exposed the impossibility for the EU to proceed with such an agreement in the current context and considering the lack of human rights safeguards. The EP resolution effectively freezing the CAI in its tracks follows the adoption of EU sanctions against four Chinese individuals and one entity under its EU Global Human Rights Sanctions Regime for their role in severe human rights violations against the Uyghur and people from other Muslim ethnic minorities in China’s Xinjiang region.

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