Diplomatic Conference on Trade & Human Rights

The EIUC Diplomatic Conference on Trade and Human Rights has been opened on Saturday 13th July by Prof. Horst Fischer, EIUC President, and Mr. Engelbert Theuermann, President of the CoHom.

This Diplomatic Conference aimed at brainstorming on the given topic trying to come up with a list of recommendations for a more effective EU policy in regards to external relations that could be used by the members of the EU CoHom group present to the conference in their daily work.

The conference has also been attended by several international specialists together with academics and experts from EIUC universities and associated organisations, EIUC Advisory Board members, and Human Rights and democratisation experts from the EU institutions, such as:

  • Vital Moreira, European Parliament - President of INTA
  • Frank Hoffmeister, Deputy Head of Cabinet, EU Commissioner Karel De Gucht
  • Arancha Gonzalez, Chief of staff at World Trade Organisation
  • Francis Maupain, ILO
  • Franz Ebert, Max Planck Institute for Comparative Public Law and International Law
  • Wolfgang Benedek, University of Graz
  • Dzidzek Kedzia, Chairperson of the UN Committee of Economic Social and Cultural Rights - Adam Mickiewicz University in Poznan
  • Fabrizio Marrella, Dean of the EIUC Human Rights Village - Ca’ Foscari University of Venice

Download the programme of the conference here.

The EIUC Diplomatic Conference on Trade and Human Rights addressed the relationship between Human Rights and international trade from a unique and important interdisciplinary perspective.

Many of the world’s most important trading economies have introduced Human Rights language into their international trade and investment agreements. Economic growth through free trade can increase the resources available for the realization of Human Rights. However, economic growth does not automatically lead to greater promotion and protection of these rights, thus even development policies have to solve new and complex issues.

The challenges for Human Rights are fundamental, and key questions have up to now received no definitive answers. Is it possible to promote simultaneously Human Rights and economic growth through international trade? What if economic globalisation has an adverse impact on local living conditions? Is it really feasible to link trade policy objectives with Human Rights in times of global economic crisis?

The aim of this year's EIUC Diplomatic Conference was to convene top policy makers and scholars in order to assess how trade and Human Rights are today understood as key elements of successful policies.

Amongst the topics explored, speakers debated about the respective role of the WTO, the UN (with particular reference to Economic, Social and Cultural Rights and the ILO) and the EU, highlighting lessons learned and possible approaches to regulate economic globalisation while mainstreaming Human Rights.

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