in safeguards in EU-China investment deal Civil society calls for rights

An appeal has been launched to European Institutions calling for the inclusion of enforceable human rights clauses in the EU-China Comprehensive Agreement on Investment (CAI).

In view of the upcoming Plenary session of the European Parliament, the CSOs in the letter expressed “grave concern” at the omission of a human rights clause from the discussion about the agreement and its final text, the World Uyghur Congress (WUC) said in a statement.

They state that the omission of rights clause “sends a signal that the European Union will push for closer cooperation [with China] regardless of the scale and severity of human rights abuses carried out by the Chinese Communist Party, even when Beijing is in direct and open violation of international treaties and continues to refuse to allow international monitoring of the human rights situation”.

The letter is addressed to the likes of President of the European Commission, Ursula von der Leyen; President of the European Council, Charles Michel and members of the European Parliament.

“It is evident therefore the European Union has a Treaty obligation, as well as a moral duty, to stand by its founding principles of democracy, rules of law and the universality of human rights in its negotiations with the People’s Republic of China. This is an obligation not only to the people suffering oppression and gross human rights violations but also to uphold the international rules-based order,” the letter further said while alluding to growing evidence of forced labour in Tibet and Xinjiang.

They called upon the EU and its institutions to ensure China ratifies core Human Rights Conventions before entering into the Agreement, mainly the ICCPR, and core ILO Conventions. “The agreement should also include a human rights clause. This should be introduced via a Trade and Sustainable Development Chapter that uses binding language and provides for effective enforcement mechanisms in case of violation, the creation of an EU Domestic Advisory Group and effective monitoring and complaint mechanisms on human rights that can been seized by the affected populations and NGOs defending human rights. This mechanism should contribute to ensure the agreement will be implemented in conformity with international human rights law,” they said.