Trade and Human Rights: What Does 'Impact Assessment' Have to Offer?
Human Rights Law Review, Vol. 8, No. 4, pp. 587-615, 2008
43 Pages Posted: 24 Oct 2009 Last revised: 15 Nov 2009
Date Written: October 23, 2008
This paper examines key issues associated with conducting human rights impact assessments of international trade agreements. It records the widespread calls for such human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) by relevant actors, but the limited attempts that have so far been made to explore important issues concerning their design and intrinsic value. It therefore poses some key questions which need to be considered in the development of appropriate methodologies and explores the extent to which these methodological issues can be appropriately resolved. In so doing, the piece considers lessons from existing practice in the field including 'social' impact assessments of trade agreements and the limited number of HRIAs so far conducted which are specifically focused on international trade law issues. As a result of this analysis some conclusions are drawn about the value and limitations of human rights impact assessments of trade agreements, and the extent to which we can expect them to enhance the debate about human rights law and trade law inter-linkages in the future.
Keywords: human rights impact assessment, HRIA, international trade, human rights, social impact assessment, SIA, WTO
Suggested Citation: Suggested Citation