[A2k] Trade Agreement and Mandatory Human Rights Impact Assessment

Heesob Nam hurips at gmail.com
Wed Nov 6 22:16:29 PST 2013


Evaluation of trade agreements have been made in economic terms. But
the impact of trade agreements is not limited to economic life. They
have human rights dimensions in many aspects. For instance, trade
agreements containing the TRIPS-plus provisons may affect the right to
access to essential medicine, the right to food and more broadly the
right to science and culture, which is protected by the Article 27(1)
of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights. So the UN human rights
bodies have tried to develop and propose human rights impact
assessments (HRIA) of trade agreements (See The Future of Human
RightsImpact Assessments of Trade Agreements).

The recent move of the National Assembly of South Korea to mandate the
HRIA was influenced by the efforts of the UN human rights bodies. The
lawmaker, Mr. Buh, proposed a bill to amend the Law on the
Treaty-Making Process and Implementaion of Trade Agreements (Trade
Process Act), which includes an amendment making compulsory the HRIA
on every trade pacts that are likely to be agreed upon with trade
partners. For doing so, the Trade Minister has to ask the National
Human Rights Commission to conduct the HRIA on the trade pact and to
reflect in full the conclusion of the HRIA and the opinions of the
National Human Rights Commission. In additon, the HRIA report shall be
made biannually for the trade pacts which have already come into
effect and submitted to the National Assembly.

The bill contains lots of amendments, some are controversial. And it
is too early to expect the fate of the bill since it was proposed just
two weeks ago. However, I can say that the chance of the mandatory
HRIA provision passing through the National Assembly is relatively

If you want to show your support of the bill, please contact me
(hurips at gmail.com) or the Office of Mr. Buh (babydo at


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