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Home Human Rights Economic Social Cultural Rights The Human Costs of Exiting Trade Agreements: The Right to Development in an Era of Policy Uncertainty

3 Responses

  1. Miroslav Baros

    Many thanks professor Desierto for this, in my view brilliant analysis . It is indeed astonishing how little space and role the individual, civil society and groups are given in these crucial developments and times. What I find equally surprising is an apparent apathy and lack of political objection to this strategy. Another worrying, but concomitant aspect seems to be governments’ attitude and approach to the issue. Just look at the Joint Committee’s Report of December 2016; I am stating paras. 21 and 22 in full to emphasise the point:
    21. The Government seemed unacceptably reluctant to discuss the issue of human rights after Brexit. The Minister of State responsible for human rights was either unwilling or unable to tell us what the Government saw as the most significant human rights issues that would arise when the UK exits the EU.
    22. We were also surprised to be informed that the Government saw the question of domestic protection for fundamental rights as a matter for negotiation with the other EU Member States. Unless the Government is prepared to diminish such protections significantly, it is difficult to imagine why it considers that this should be a matter for negotiation and how this would be negotiated reciprocally with the remaining EU Member States.
    It is surely within this atmosphere that, according to few commentators sinister strategies are being pursued, such as “just asking” for the names of lecturers teaching on particular subjects! I hope you are aware?

  2. Diane Desierto Diane Desierto

    Dear Miroslav:

    Thank you for your comments, especially for the additional information. I was not at all aware that inquiries were being made for lecturers’ names – this is highly unusual. Who is making this list and why?

    As to apathy and the lack of political objection, I find that this is not an unusual occurrence, when trade treaty negotiations are often shrouded in the supposedly ‘technical’ language of bureaucrats that do not translate easily to news media and town hall meetings of smaller communities. It’s hard to depict the stakes when the public is not aware of what is being given up. Likewise, States often make robust use of executive privilege to foreclose access to treaty negotiation documents.

    Certainly, there’s a democratic deficit to be observed here, since economic treaty-making can be as powerful, if not more impactful over the long-term, than domestic/parliamentary legislation that’s subject to public debates and accountability measures.

    With best wishes.

  3. Miroslav Baros

    Dear professor Desierto
    Yes, a democratic deficit is very much present in trade negotiations traditionally.
    A Conservative MP and government whip, a staunch Brexit supporter wrote last week to all UK universities demanding a list of professors and lecturers who are teaching students about Brexit! Worryingly, his political party supported him although admitted that the letter should not have been sent. Whatever the reason (somewhat awkwardly stated, not even by him but by his supporters) that he was doing a “research”) it is quite scary, sinister and intimidating and reminiscent of a proper dictatorship. I think universities should respond to this strategy as part of their contractual duty to employees and in accordance with the Education Act 1986.
    Best wishes

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