Arts, Karen. (2007) "A Human Rights-Based Approach to the ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements: Issues and Implications". In: UNSPECIFIED, Montreal, Canada. (Unpublished)
[From the introduction]. Over the years the cooperation relationship between the European Union (EU) and at present almost eighty developing countries in Africa, the Caribbean and the Pacific (ACP) has built a long-standing record in integrating development, human rights and, as of more recently, governance concerns. However, while this record is strong and fairly clear in the sphere of development aid and the European Development Fund, so far the trade part of ACP-EU relations has not shown equal sensitivity to human rights concerns. This paper argues that it is high time to extend the full bearing of human rights norms and commitments to the realm of ACP-EU trade as well. While this might entail more serious consideration by the ACP and EU states of the human rights impact of their trade relations, and other more direct linkages (positive and negative) between trade and human rights, this paper in the first place makes the case for a human rights-based approach to the ACP-EU Economic Partnership Agreements (EPAs) that are currently are negotiated. For, all states involved in the EPA negotiations have at various levels explicitly committed themselves to the promotion of “the economic, social and cultural development of the ACP states” (Cotonou Art. 1). According to the Cotonou Agreement, this clearly includes respect for and fulfilment of human rights norms and goals. In addition, in the Treaty on European Union and the Treaty Establishing a Constitution for Europe the EU member states have specifically pledged to strive for consistency in the Union’s external activities in general. The combination of these two factors makes a human rights-based approach to Economic Partnership Agreements imperative.
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