GLOBALIZATION AND TRADE

» Alternatives To Corporate Globalization

» Democracy, Sovereignty and Federalism

» Deregulation and Access to Services

» Import Safety, Environment and Health

» Jobs, Wages and Economic Outcomes

» NAFTA, WTO, Other Trade Pacts

» Other Issues

Trade Data Center

One-stop shop for searchable
trade databases, case lists & more

Eyes on Trade

Public Citizen's Global Trade Watch blog on globalization and trade. Subscribe to RSS.

Connect with GTW

What's New - Global Trade Watch


Buy our book: The Rise and Fall of Fast Track Trade Authority - Updated and Expanded Edition

View 'What's New' Archives

The Realization of Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the International Economic Order and the promotion of Human Rights

UN Commission on Human Rights: Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities

Fiftieth session
Agenda item 4 (a)

THE REALIZATION OF ECONOMIC, SOCIAL AND CULTURAL RIGHTS

THE INTERNATIONAL ECONOMIC ORDER AND THE PROMOTION OF HUMAN RIGHTS

Human rights as the primary objective of trade, investment and financial policy

The Sub-Commission on Prevention of Discrimination and Protection of Minorities,

Recalling that, as declared in Article 28 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, everyone is entitled to a social and economic order in which the rights and freedoms set forth in the Declaration can be fully realized, and that Article 25(1) enshrines the right of everyone to a standard of living adequate for the full realization of economic, social and cultural rights,

Stressing the need to work towards the realization for all people and communities of the rights, including food, housing, work, health and education, enshrined in the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights,

Recalling the Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.157/23) which confirmed that the protection and promotion of human rights and fundamental freedoms is the first responsibility of Governments, and that the human person is the central subject of development, and the Copenhagen Declaration and Programme of Action (A/CONF.166/9) and its recommendation to States of the need to intervene in markets to prevent or counteract market failure, promote stability and long-term investment, ensure fair competition and ethical conduct, and harmonize economic and social development,

Noting with concern the conclusions of the Trade and Development Report 1997 published by the United Nations Conference on Trade and Development that since the early 1980s the world economy has been characterized by rising inequality, both between and within countries; that income gaps between North and South have continued to widen; and that the income share of the richest 20% has risen almost everywhere whilst the income shares of both the poorest 20% and the middle class have fallen,

Noting Also the conclusions of the Human Development Report 1997 published by the United Nations Development Programme that although poverty has been dramatically reduced in many parts of the world, a quarter of the world's people remain in severe poverty; that human poverty constitutes a denial of human rights; that unguided globalization had helped to reduce poverty in some of the largest and strongest developing economies but had also produced "a widening gap between winners and losers" among and within countries; and that to create opportunities and not to close them requires better management of globalization, nationally and internationally,

Recalling the analysis of the effects of globalization contained in both the Special Rapporteur's report on the relationship between the enjoyment of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, and income distribution (E/CN.4/Sub.2/1998/8), and the Special Rapporteur's report on impunity of perpetrators of violations of human rights (economic, social and cultural rights) (E/CN4/Sub.2/1997/8),

Aware of the continuing negotiations in the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development on a Multilateral Agreement on Investment, and of the widespread civil society protests against the MAI based on concerns about its adverse effects on human rights, the environment and sustainable development,Concerned about the possible human rights implications of the Multilateral Agreement on Investment, and particularly about the extent to which the Agreement might limit the capacity of States to take proactive steps to ensure the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights by all people, and in the process creating benefits for a small privileged minority at the expense of an increasingly disenfranchised majority,

Noting the statement on globalization and its impact on the enjoyment of economic, social and cultural rights, made by the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights during its 18th session in May, 1998, in which the Committee declared that the realms of trade, finance and investment are in no way exempt from human rights obligations and principles, and that the international organizations with specific responsibilities in these areas should play a positive and constructive role in relation to human rights, and called in particular for a careful study of the potential impact of the draft Multilateral Agreement on Investment upon enjoyment for economic, social and cultural rights,

Convinced of the need to re-emphasize the centrality and primacy of human rights obligations in all areas of development and governance, including international and regional trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices,


  1. Emphasizes that the realization of the human rights and fundamental freedoms described in the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, and other international and regional human rights instruments is the first and most fundamental responsibility and objective of States in all areas of development and governance;
  2. Urges United Nations agencies, including the IMF and the World Bank, to at all times be conscious of and respect the human rights obligations of the countries with which they work;
  3. Urges member States of the OECD to review the draft text of the MAI to ensure that all its provisions are fully consistent with their human rights obligations, and to keep these obligations in mind during any future negotiations on the MAI;
  4. Decides to entrust with the task of preparing, without financial implications, a working paper on ways and means by which the primacy of human rights norms and standards could be better reflected in, and could better inform, international and regional trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices, and how the UN human rights bodies and mechanisms could play a central role in this regard;
  5. Requests to include in this paper an analysis of the text of the MAI, from a human rights perspective, and to consider ways to ensure that future negotiations on the MAI or analogous agreements or measures take place within a human rights framework;
  6. Calls for the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights to urgently develop appropriate expertise to address the human rights implications of international and regional trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices;
  7. Encourages international, national and local human rights NGOs to develop awareness of international trade, investment and financial policies, agreements and practices, and capacity to effectively analyze and monitor the human rights impacts of such policies, agreements and practices;
  8. Asks the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, and other treaty bodies as appropriate, to include consideration of the human rights impacts of international and regional trade, investment and financial measures in their State reporting procedures.

Copyright © 2014 Public Citizen. Some rights reserved. Non-commercial use of text and images in which Public Citizen holds the copyright is permitted, with attribution, under the terms and conditions of a Creative Commons License. This Web site is shared by Public Citizen Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation. Learn More about the distinction between these two components of Public Citizen.


Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation

 

Together, two separate corporate entities called Public Citizen, Inc. and Public Citizen Foundation, Inc., form Public Citizen. Both entities are part of the same overall organization, and this Web site refers to the two organizations collectively as Public Citizen.

Although the work of the two components overlaps, some activities are done by one component and not the other. The primary distinction is with respect to lobbying activity. Public Citizen, Inc., an IRS § 501(c)(4) entity, lobbies Congress to advance Public Citizen’s mission of protecting public health and safety, advancing government transparency, and urging corporate accountability. Public Citizen Foundation, however, is an IRS § 501(c)(3) organization. Accordingly, its ability to engage in lobbying is limited by federal law, but it may receive donations that are tax-deductible by the contributor. Public Citizen Inc. does most of the lobbying activity discussed on the Public Citizen Web site. Public Citizen Foundation performs most of the litigation and education activities discussed on the Web site.

You may make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., Public Citizen Foundation, or both. Contributions to both organizations are used to support our public interest work. However, each Public Citizen component will use only the funds contributed directly to it to carry out the activities it conducts as part of Public Citizen’s mission. Only gifts to the Foundation are tax-deductible. Individuals who want to join Public Citizen should make a contribution to Public Citizen, Inc., which will not be tax deductible.

 

To become a member of Public Citizen, click here.
To become a member and make an additional tax-deductible donation to Public Citizen Foundation, click here.