Human Rights Provisions in Economic Partnership Agreements in Light of the Expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020

23-03-2017

The study considers the options for suspending obligations under the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in connection with violations of human rights, democratic principles or the rule of law following the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. It outlines the functioning of the human rights clause in the Cotonou Agreement, before considering the possibilities for suspending the EPAs under their own provisions, or for other reasons in international law, such as countermeasures. Next, it discusses how any post-2020 arrangements can best continue the existing mechanisms for human rights conditionality set out in the Cotonou Agreement. In connection with this, this study proposes certain suggestions for improving future versions of human rights clauses, and considers whether there are legal obstacles to the invocation of this clause under general international law, principally under WTO law. The study concludes with a set of comments and recommendations.

The study considers the options for suspending obligations under the EU-ACP Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) in connection with violations of human rights, democratic principles or the rule of law following the expiry of the Cotonou Agreement in 2020. It outlines the functioning of the human rights clause in the Cotonou Agreement, before considering the possibilities for suspending the EPAs under their own provisions, or for other reasons in international law, such as countermeasures. Next, it discusses how any post-2020 arrangements can best continue the existing mechanisms for human rights conditionality set out in the Cotonou Agreement. In connection with this, this study proposes certain suggestions for improving future versions of human rights clauses, and considers whether there are legal obstacles to the invocation of this clause under general international law, principally under WTO law. The study concludes with a set of comments and recommendations.