UN rights expert urges States not to sign the ‘flawed’ CETA treaty and put it to referendum
GENEVA (28 October 2016) – The trade deal set to be signed by the European Union and Canada is a corporate-driven, fundamentally flawed treaty which should not be signed or ratified without a referendum in each country concerned, a United Nations human rights expert says.
Alfred de Zayas, the UN Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, deplored the pressures brought on the Belgian regional parliament of Wallonia, which initially said it would not approve the treaty but later said its concerns had been met. “A culture of bullying and intimidation becomes apparent when it comes to trade agreements that currently get priority over human rights,” the expert said.
In his reports to the Human Rights Council and General Assembly Mr. de Zayas has previously warned that CETA is incompatible with the rule of law, democracy and human rights, and substantiated how and why before the Parliamentary Assembly of the Council of Europe.
He believes that both CETA and TTIP – the Trans-Atlantic Trade and Investment Partnership currently being negotiated by the EU and the US – give undue power to corporations at the expense of national governments and human rights, and deplores that the mere existence of investor-state dispute settlement generates a regulatory chill.
“The danger of CETA and TTIP being signed and one day entering into force is so serious that every stakeholder, especially parliamentarians from EU Member States, should now be given the opportunity to articulate the pros and cons. The corporate-driven agenda gravely endangers labour, health and other social legislation, and there is no justification to fast-track it” Mr. de Zayas said.
“Civil society should demand referendums on the approval of CETA or any other such mega-treaty that has been negotiated behind closed doors,” he noted.