Never in recent history have trade and human rights abuses been so clearly linked. On February 1st, 2021, the Labour Campaign for Human Rights held a panel discussion on how the UK could put human rights at the heart of its foreign and trade policy.
♦️ Matthew Turner, Labour Campaign for Human Rights (Chair)
♦️ Emily Thornberry, Shadow Secretary of State for International Trade
♦️ Rahima Mahmut, UK Project Director, World Uyghur Congress (WUC)
♦️ David Lawrence, Senior Political Adviser, Trade Justice Movement
♦️ Isabelle Younane, Senior Advocacy Manager, ActionAid UK
♦️ The threat to workers’ rights of the UK-EU trade deal and implications for the ECHR;
♦️ The Uyghur genocide and the ‘Genocide Amendment’ to the Trade Bill;
♦️ Human rights conditionality in UK trade deals with non-EU countries, including parliamentary scrutiny of new trade agreements; and
♦️ Corporate supply chains & human rights.
Trade deals are headline news at the moment. The UK and the EU have agreed a last-minute trade agreement to prevent a catastrophic no-deal Brexit. Almost simultaneously, the EU (led by Germany) has finalised a long-delayed investment treaty with China, much to the frustration of the incoming Biden administration in the US. At the same time, the evidence that the Chinese State is committing a genocide against the Uyghur people in Xinjiang has become insurmountable - as the UK Trade Bill returns to the House of Commons this month, MPs will vote on a ‘Genocide Amendment’ from the Lords which aims to prevent trade deals with genocidal states (with such a determination to be made by the UK High Court, not the UN). And, following the conclusion of a trade deal with Japan at the end of last year, the UK will be seeking many new trade agreements with non-EU countries in 2021.