Human rights must be integrated into international investment agreements

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Business & Human Rights Resource Centre | 14 November 2016

Human rights must be integrated into international investment agreements

By Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, Center for International Environmental Law, Cetntre for Human Rights in Practice, University of Warwick (UK), European Coalition for Corporate Justice, FIDH (International Federation for Human Rights), International Corporate Accountability Roundable, Institute for Policy Studies, Madhyam, SOMO & UN Independent & UN Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order Alfred de Zayas

We, the undersigned human rights, environmental and development organizations, urge all governments to place human rights at the core of international economic agreements, by integrating human rights protections into international investment and trade agreements and to ensure that these agreements do not impair governments’ abilities to respect, protect and fulfill their human rights obligations. Most urgently, we call on decision-makers considering entry into bilateral or multilateral trade and investment agreements to reject agreements that do not have human rights at their centre...[T]he current international investment system gives rights to multinational corporations while doing nothing to protect the rights of people affected by foreign investment to access effective remedy. It does not sufficiently protect governments’ space to pursue sustainable development policies from investors’ challenges...The current system creates rights for foreign companies to challenge legal and policy actions by the host governments where the companies invest, even when those state actions are taken to protect and fulfill human rights...Since States are bound by these pre-existing treaty obligations, they are prohibited from concluding any agreements that would impose on them inconsistent obligations constraining their ability to respect, protect and fulfill human rights.

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Comment on this article


  • Human rights must be integrated into international investment agreements21-November-2016 | DIDIER Pierre

    Perhaps that organization never heard - or at l-east never read- the CETA’s umbrella agreement, i.e. the Strategic Partnership Agreement ( that was signed together with the CETA in November 2016.
    That agreement repeatedly refers to the joint willingness and cooperation of EU and Canada for enforcement of human rights both in their constituencies, in their relations and in the world. A full chapter ("title") is devoted to HUMAN RIGHTS, FUNDAMENTAL FREEDOMS,
    DEMOCRACY AND THE RULE OF LAW . Its art. 28.7 states that " (...) the Parties recognise that a particularly serious and substantial violation of human rights or non-proliferation, (...), could also serve as grounds for the termination of the EU-Canada Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA)".

    Sure, if a TTIP ever occurs (Trump and populist right/left allowing ?) a same strategic partnership agreement will be concluded with the USA: this is an absolute request of the European parliament.

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