Assessment of the implementation of the human rights clause in international and sectoral agreements

Análise aprofundada 15-05-2023

This study examines the EU’s policy on human rights clauses in its international agreements since 2014. It focuses on the inclusion of human rights clauses in framework agreements, in line with the 2009 ‘Common Approach’, and how these clauses apply to more ‘specific’ agreements between the parties in sectoral agreements. It also looks at human rights clauses in sectoral agreements, especially sustainable fisheries partnership agreements and financing agreements, contrasting these with timber and selected investment agreements. The study emphasizes the importance of proper monitoring and enforcement to ensure compliance with human rights norms. It makes several recommendations including ensuring consistent coverage of human rights clauses across all types of agreements, clarifying their scope and giving consideration to making specific reference to newer human rights, tailoring benchmarks to individual countries, expanding the remit of Domestic Advisory Groups, and exploring additional avenues for reporting potential violations, similar to the Single Entry Point mechanism. It also recommends expanding the ‘general exceptions’ routinely included in trade and investment agreements to allow parties to take measures, not otherwise permitted by the agreement, to implement their human rights obligations.