The International Federation of Journalists (IFJ) today issued a joint statement with a coalition of non-governmental organisations urging the EU-Mexico trade agreement not to be signed until a full human rights impact assessment is completed.
In the statement, the coalition welcomes the European Commission's decision to fully explore the potential economic, social, human rights and environmental impacts of the Free Trade Agreement through a Sustainability Impact Assessment (SIA) but it thinks that it is "completely unacceptable" that the SIA will only start at a time when the negotiations are nearing completion.
Both negotiating parties have repeatedly stated that they wish to finalize negotiations on the Global Agreement by the end of 2017.
"If the EU Commission is to maintain its negotiation time schedule, it would generally be impossible for the results of the consultations and the SIA as a whole to influence the negotiations in terms of human rights and the Sustainable Development Goals (SDG)," the NGOs claimed in the statement.
The coalition thus expects the Commission to suspend the negotiations until the results of the SIA are available so that human rights risks and sustainability risks of the agreement can be adequately addressed.
It also calls on the EU Council and the Members of the European Parliament to request from the Commission an adjustment of the negotiation timetable, which allows an appropriate consideration of the results of the SIA and the obligations under Articles 3 and 21 of the Treaty of Lisbon.
The statement was sent today to the The Directorate General for Trade of the European Commission, the European External Action Service (EEAS) and members of International Trademark Association (INTA), the European Parliament's Subcommittee on Human Rights (DROI) and to the EU-Mexico Joint Parliamentary Committee (D-MX).