Protecting Human Rights in a Global Economy: Challenges for the World Trade Organization

HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT YEARBOOK 1999/2000: THE MILLENNIUM EDITION, pp. 51-82, Hugo Stokke, Anne Tostensen, eds., 2001

Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-008

32 Pages Posted: 9 Jan 2010 Last revised: 9 Feb 2010

Makau W. Mutua

SUNY Buffalo Law School

Robert L. Howse

New York University School of Law

Date Written: 2000

Abstract

Since the late 1980s, the ascendancy of market economics coupled with a revolution in information technology has accelerated the process of globalization while institutions of international governance have been unable or unwilling to catch up. Privatization and the related phenomena of deregulation, structural adjustment, and a myriad of new bilateral, regional and multilateral trade and investment agreements have proceeded without credible efforts to conceptually and practically address their impacts on legally protected human rights. This paper addresses the tensions and potential synergies between the two legal regimes governing trade and investment and human rights. Trade and investment agreements, as well as the practices of international business, must be held accountable to existing human rights law. The spirit of human rights law must frame the development of trade law if either is to achieve its goals. While human rights violations existed long before this period of rapid economic integration, the growing number of sectors covered by multilateral trade and investment agreements has set the stage for a new variety of human rights abuses which have not yet been suitably addressed. There is a need to evolve new laws and policies in a manner that overcomes the post-war legacy of isolation between human rights institutions and economic institutions. This is something that the World Trade Organization, other multinational organizations, and all of mankind should address.

Keywords: World Trade Organization, WTO, Human Rights, Global Economy, Development, Privatization, Globalization, International Business, Trade, Investment

Suggested Citation

Mutua, Makau W. and Howse, Robert L., Protecting Human Rights in a Global Economy: Challenges for the World Trade Organization (2000). HUMAN RIGHTS IN DEVELOPMENT YEARBOOK 1999/2000: THE MILLENNIUM EDITION, pp. 51-82, Hugo Stokke, Anne Tostensen, eds., 2001 ; Buffalo Legal Studies Research Paper No. 2010-008. Available at SSRN: https://ssrn.com/abstract=1533544

Makau Mutua (Contact Author)

SUNY Buffalo Law School ( email )

626 O'Brian Hall
Buffalo, NY 14260-1100
United States
716 645-2311 (Phone)

Robert Howse

New York University School of Law ( email )

40 Washington Square South
New York, NY 10012-1099
United States

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