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Workshop: Human Rights in EU Trade Policy – an unfulfilled Promise?

The EU has obliged itself to protect human rights in all of its foreign relations. There are different instruments for aimed at the protection of human rights in trade policy. However the implementation of a human rights-based trade policy is insufficient in practice. This is especially the case when policy makers do not adequately consider how and whether or not trade and investment agreements could potentially lead to the violation of human rights. In the mineral ressources industry, which has been mired in human rights abuses, the EU has negotiated the prohibition of limits on exports (e.g. in an agreement with Peru and Colombia) and with that creates incentives for the expansion of mining sites without the inclusion of environmenal, human rights and social protection clauses. The EU is currently negotiating numerous trade and investment agreeemnts (Economic Partnership Agreements – EPAs), e.g. with African states, Mercosur states and Mexico. 

How can we ensure that international trade is conducted in the interests of people – such that in the conflict of objectives interest between economic objectives and human rights and environmental protection the latter is given priority? How can the EU and its member states make sure that its human rights obligations as well as social and environmental protection clauses can be embodied in and implemented thorough its trade and investment agreements?

The workshop gives on overview on the current state of human rights, environmental and social critera and the entent to which they are secured in EU trade policy in general and in current free-trade agreements, espically in the mineral industry. Furthermore points for imporovement and action steps will be discussed. 

The workshop is organized by the Austrian Research Foundation for International Development (ÖFSE) and the Dreikönigsaktion (DKA). The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights (BIM) has colaborated with these two organizations to release a new study "More Human Rights in Mineral Supply Chains" (the study is available in German: "Mehr Menschenrechte in Rohstoff-Lieferketten"), which was co-authored by BIM's Julia Planitzer.


Registration and inquiries at: Karin Küblböck,

Further information about the workshop and the complete study are attached below.  

Wednesday, 13. December 2017 - 9:00 to 12:00
C3, Sensengasse 3, 1090 Vienna