EU-Vietnam trade agreement: EU Ombudsperson upholds FIDH complaint against the European Commission for maladministration

“The Commission should carry out a specific human rights impact assessment without further delay.” This is the recommendation issued on March 26 by the EU Ombudsperson, which also specified that “the Commission’s failure to carry out a specific human rights impact assessment, in relation to Vietnam, constitutes maladministration.”

FIDH and its member organization, the Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR) filed the complaintagainst the European Commission (EC) for their refusal to take human rights into account in negotiations for trade and investment agreements with Vietnam. EU policies require that a Human Rights Impact Assessment (HRIA) be conducted before a Free Trade Agreement can be signed. However, the EC refused to comply on the basis that a partial assessment was made in 2009. The EU Ombudsperson concluded that our complaint was well-founded.

This creates an important precedent which goes beyond the EU-Vietnam negotiations to touch upon all trade agreements currently being negotiated such as those with Burma, China, Jordan and the US.

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