25 Nov 2010

Human impact assessment recommended to precede Pacific free-trade deals

11:33 am on 25 November 2010

A United Nations-sponsored workshop on the impact of free trade deals on human rights is recommending that a human impact assessment precede any such agreements in the Pacific.

Yesterday's meeting in Suva, which was hosted jointly by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights and the Pacific Islands Forum Secretariat, was attended by several government representatives as well as UN agencies, NGOs and other regional organisations.

The office's regional representative says her understanding is that there's never been any explicit discourse around human rights in relation to Pacific trade negotiations.

Matilda Bogner says free trade agreements have had a variety of effects worldwide.

"In some parts of the world international or foreign business can come into the country and sometimes can not comply with the labour standards, sometimes can privatise basic services such as health services, education services, or water services and so on."

The UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights' regional representative, Matilda Bogner.