Last week a panel of UN experts issued warnings on the TPP:
UN experts voice concern over adverse impact of free trade and investment agreements on human rights
A number of free trade and investment agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are currently being negotiated. …
“While trade and investment agreements can create new economic opportunities, we draw attention to the potential detrimental impact these treaties and agreements may have on the enjoyment of human rights as enshrined in legally binding instruments, whether civil, cultural, economic, political or social. Our concerns relate to the rights to life, food, water and sanitation, health, housing, education, science and culture, improved labour standards, an independent judiciary, a clean environment and the right not to be subjected to forced resettlement.
As also underlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, States must ensure that trade and investment agreements do not constrain their ability to meet their human rights obligations (Guiding Principle 9).
Observers are concerned that these treaties and agreements are likely to have a number of retrogressive effects on the protection and promotion of human rights, including by lowering the threshold of health protection, food safety, and labour standards, by catering to the business interests of pharmaceutical monopolies and extending intellectual property protection.
There is a legitimate concern that both bilateral and multilateral investment treaties might aggravate the problem of extreme poverty, jeopardize fair and efficient foreign debt renegotiation, and affect the rights of indigenous peoples, minorities, persons with disabilities, older persons, and other persons leaving in vulnerable situations.
Investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS) chapters in BITs and FTAs are also increasingly problematic given the experience of decades related arbitrations conducted before ISDS tribunals. The experience demonstrates that the regulatory function of many States and their ability to legislate in the public interest have been put at risk. … ISDS chapters are anomalous in that they provide protection for investors but not for States or for the population. They allow investors to sue States but not vice-versa. …
Here’s coverage from the EFF:
UN Experts Say TPP and Fast Track Threaten Human Rights
Prominent experts at the United Nations have now indicated that secretive trade agreements such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) undermine human rights around the world, both because of the secretive, corporate-dominated process, and due to the substantive content of the provisions that arise out of these opaque negotiations.
Last week, an independent UN expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Alfred de Zayas, said that the secrecy surrounding trade negotiations is a threat to human rights because it disenfranchises and excludes the public from “the right and opportunity to take part in the conduct of public affairs.” He urges human rights impact assessments be undertaken immediately as part of the negotiation process, and goes on to say that fast tracking these deals to approval has a detrimental impact on a democratic, equitable world order. We agree, and have been fighting Fast Track legislation in the U.S. to stop back-room negotiations that led to the TPP’s provisions become legitimized by the bill’s passage.
In his statements, he particularly singles out trade agreements’ investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) provisions. They allow investors to sue nations over legislative and administrative rules alleging that they harm their profits. ….
Read on for plenty more.
When the UN is issuing warnings on the TPP, don’t you think it would be wise to listen?