Rights must not be abandoned in trade negotiations

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Rights must not be abandoned in trade negotiations

By Maryant Fernández Pérez

Internet users are not being properly involved or even heard by trade negotiators. This has to change.

European Digital Rights (EDRi) has joined forces with an international coalition of experts, scholars, groups representing Internet users, consumers and businesses to make this change happen. We are calling for reform of trade negotiations in order to protect the Internet and digital rights at a global level.

Today, we issue the “Brussels Declaration on Trade and the Internet”. The Declaration makes six specific recommendations for States and Regions participating in global trade agreements. These include regular releases of draft proposals, meaningful public participation and engagement with the public, experts and organisations fighting for Internet users and consumers’ human rights and fundamental freedoms online.

The opaque and undemocratic way under which trade agreements are being negotiated jeopardise the enjoyment of human rights online. This Declaration contains clear recommendations for a much-needed reform,

said Joe McNamee, Executive Director of European Digital Rights (EDRi).

The Declaration was signed by 20 groups and individuals concerned about secretive and closed trade negotiations, like the negotiations on the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), the Trade in Services Agreement (TiSA) and the Comprehensive Economic and Trade Agreement (CETA). Among the experts involved, the coalition gathers Mr Alfred-Maurice de Zayas, the United Nations Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order.

Trade agreements must work for human rights and not against them. Multi-stakeholder participation in the elaboration, negotiation and adoption of trade agreements are essential if they are going to have democratic legitimacy,

said UN Expert Alfred de Zayas.

All agreements must be subject to periodic review, so as to monitor their impacts on human rights, including the right to privacy, digital rights and online freedom of expression and access to information. Revision of trade-agreements must be built into the treaties,

he added.

Background:

Brussels Declaration on Trade and the Internet
https://edri.org/files/brussels_trade_declaration.pdf

TTIP and Digital Rights
https://edri.org/files/TTIP_and_DigitalRights_booklet_WEB.pdf

TiSA and Digital Rights
https://edri.org/files/TiSA_Position_Jan2016e.pdf

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