Human Rights & WTO

A joint event will happen, organized by FIDH, 3D and IATP in parallel to the WTO Hong Kong Ministerial Conference. Please see the programme hereafter: Human Rights and the WTO: examining the impacts, 14 December, 2005, 10 – 13.00, WTO Convention Center, Room A.

States have committed themselves to be bound by international human rights obligations. However, States often ignore their human rights obligations while negotiating trade agreements within the WTO in spite of the fact that trade rules can have adverse impacts on the realization of human rights. To ensure that human rights are not undermined by trade rules, human rights impact assessments should be conducted before any new trade rules are agreed upon. Moderator: Carin Smaller, Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy (IATP).

Introduction: Trade rules must be consistent with human rights, Elin Wrzoncki, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) – TBC;

1) The impact of the WTO Agreements on human rights: the need to assess outcomes

- Direct impact: TRIPS, access to affordable medicines and the right to health
Davinia Ovett, 3D -> Trade – Human Rights – Equitable Economy (3D)

- Possible impacts of services liberalization in GATS Mode 4 on the rights of migrant workers
Genevieve Gencianos, Public Services International (PSI) and Migrants Rights International (MRI)

– WTO agricultural rules and the right to food
Biplab Halim, FoodFirst Information and Action Network (FIAN) (TBC)

– NAMA may affect enjoyment of human rights in developing countries
Steve Ouma, Kenya Human Rights Commission (KHRC)


2) Examining the impacts:

Human Rights Impact Assessments

– Assessing the implementation process of trade agreements: non-discrimination, right to participation, access to information
Victor Hugo Ricco, CEDHA

– Human Rights Impact Assessments: Developing a standardized approach
Carole Samdup, Rights and Democracy

Case studies:

Irene Banda, Organisation Development and Community Management Trust (ODCMT).

Vikram Aditya, Friendship Foundation

Discussion, Conclusion

The event entitled “Human Rights and the WTO: examining the impacts” will look at how trade rules in the WTO Agreements affect the realization of human rights and will stress the need to take into account human rights obligations when negotiating and implementing trade agreements.

Part I will focus on TRIPS and the right to health, GATS Mode IV and the rights of migrant workers, the Agreement on Agriculture (AoA) and the right to food, and non-agricultural market access (NAMA) and the enjoyment of human rights in developing countries.

Part II will consider ways in which to assess trade rules and processes, and case studies from Zambia and India.

The event will take place on 14 December 2005, from 10:00-13:00 in Room A, the WTO Convention Center (within the NGO Center), Hong Kong, China.

For further information please contact Elin Wrzoncki, FIDH: Best regards, Elin Wrzoncki, FIDH, Davinia Ovett, 3D -> Trade – Human Rights – Equitable Economy, Carin Smaller, IATP.

Davinia Ovett, Programme Officer, 3D -> Trade – Human Rights – Equitable Economy, 15, Rue des SavoisCH-1205 Genève, Switzerland, Tel: +41 22 320 21 21, Fax: +41 22 320 69 48, Email:, Website:

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