Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: ETOs remain in context of IGOs

Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights: Countries retain extra-territorial human rights obligations for decisions within inter-governmental organizations

 

The Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights recently released the Concluding Observations on France.  Paragraphs 9, 10 and 11 deal with extra-territorial obligations (ETOs) in the context of bilateral and multilateral trade agreements and development assistance and investment.  Importantly, for the first time, the Committee explicitly recognizes in Paragraph 11 that States Parties to the Covenant retain their respective Covenant obligations in the context of decisions made within inter-governmental organizations, such as the World Bank and IMF.  Paragraph 9 mentions that France maintains its Covenant ETOs within European Union decision-making.

The official English version is not yet available, but paragraphs 9 and 10 in French follow as well as an unofficial translation:

Accords commerciaux et d’investissement bilatéraux et multilatéraux

 

9.         Le Comité exprime sa préoccupation eu égard au manque d’attention apporté aux impacts sur les droits du Pacte dans les pays partenaires des accords commerciaux ou d’investissements bilatéraux et multilatéraux en cours de négociation ou conclus par l’État partie ou l’Union européenne. Le Comité est en particulier préoccupé de ce que les mécanismes de règlement de différends entre investisseurs et États prévus dans plusieurs accords pourraient réduire la capacité de l’Etat de protéger et de réaliser certains droits consacrés par le Pacte (art. 2(1)).

10.       Le Comité appelle l’État partie à assumer pleinement ses obligations au regard du Pacte dans le cadre de la négociation et de la mise en œuvre des accords commerciaux et d’investissement bilatéraux et multilatéraux. Il l’encourage notamment à :

a)         S’assurer que des consultations auprès des parties prenantes concernées, y compris les communautés concernées, soient engagées au cours des phases d’élaboration, de négociation et de ratification de ces accords, sur la base d’une évaluation des impacts attendus ;
b)         S’assurer qu’une évaluation des impacts soit systématiquement menée au cours de leur mise en œuvre, afin d’adapter, le cas échéant, le contenu des engagements ; et
c)         S’assurer que les mécanismes de règlement de différends ne compromettent pas la capacité de l’État partie de s’acquitter de ses obligations au titre du Pacte.

 

11.       Le Comité engage l’État partie à prendre toutes les mesures possibles afin de s’assurer que les décisions et les politiques adoptés au sein des organisations internationales dont il est membre soient conformes aux obligations au titre du Pacte.

Here is an unofficial English translation:

 

Trade agreements and bilateral and multilateral investment

9.  The Committee expresses concern with regard to the lack of attention given to the impacts on Covenant rights in trade agreements or partner countries of bilateral and multilateral investment being negotiated or entered into by the State party or the European Union. The Committee is particularly concerned that the resolution mechanisms for disputes between investors and States under several agreements could reduce the capacity of the State to protect and realize certain rights enshrined in the Covenant (art. 2 (1)) .

10.   The Committee urges the State party to fully meet its obligations under the Covenant in connection with the negotiation and implementation of trade agreements and bilateral and multilateral investment. It encourages in particular:a) Ensure consultation with relevant stakeholders, including affected communities are engaged in the development stages of negotiation and ratification of these agreements, based on an assessment of expected impacts;

b) Ensure that an impact assessment is systematically conducted during their implementation in order to adapt, if necessary, the content of the commitments; and

c) Ensure that the dispute settlement mechanisms will not compromise the ability of the State party to fulfill its obligations under the Covenant.

11. The Committee urges the State party to take all possible measures to ensure that decisions and policies adopted within international organizations to which he belongs comply with obligations under the Covenant.

The Concluding Observations are available HERE.

A Collection of UN ETO Pronouncements is available HERE.

 

 

Categories Uncategorized | Tags: | Posted on June 27, 2016

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