Trade Deals and Human Rights with Emily Thornberry MP

Trade Deals and Human Rights with Emily Thornberry MP


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.

Never in recent history, have trade and human rights abuses been so clearly and inextricably linked together. We will be discussing how the UK can put human rights at the heart of its foreign and trade policy and, in particular, four key topics:

  • 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.

About LCHR:

The Labour Campaign for Human Rights (LCHR) is one of the most active campaigns within the Labour Movement. We aim to keep human rights at the heart of Labour Party policy and practice. Our international human rights campaign – Britain and Her Allies – seeks to help Labour develop a human rights-based foreign policy. We have recently launched our ‘Trade and Human Rights’ series of briefings, which looks at the human rights implications of the UK’s trade & business arrangements.

LCHR Trade & Human Rights Briefings:

  • Briefing 1: Exiting the EU and Human Rights – this focuses on employment rights, environmental standards and the UK immigration system post-Brexit.

  • Briefing 2: Trade Deals and Human Rights – this looks at how the UK can use legal mechanisms in trade deals to improve human rights conditions around the world, and set the gold standard for human rights conditionality in trade deals.

  • Briefing 3: Corporate Supply Chains and Human Rights – this focuses on: (1) the UK Modern Slavery Act 2015; (2) common law developments to hold UK parent companies to account for the actions of overseas subsidiaries; (3) the need for a Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) law; and (4) the Uyghur Genocide and supply chains.

  • Briefing 4: Arms Sales, Military Contracts & Human Rights – this briefing (yet to be published) will focus on UK arms sales and military contracts.


February 01, 2021 at 6:15pm - 8:15pm


Zoom (Link to be provided)


Matthew Turner ·