The aim of this roundtable is to take stock of new developments in the area of international economic law and human rights. There has long been criticism of the international trade and investment law regimes for not being sufficiently responsive to human rights considerations. The adoption of the UN Sustainable Development Goals in September of 2015 and recent shocks to the international trading system, such as the Brexit vote, the European crisis over CETA and the US election against free trade, suggest that the international trade and investment system might be more effective in spreading the benefits of trade and might gain more legitimacy and popular support, if it were more responsive to human interest, not only business interest.
Policymakers, academics and practitioners are considering how international trade and investment agreements contribute to, or impair, inclusive social development. This roundtable will consider whether the international economic law framework should take into account such human rights-based concepts as gender equality, workers’ rights, rights of Indigenous Peoples and sustainable development. It will consider recent reform efforts in treaty-making, private initiatives to embed human rights into business practices, new approaches in dispute resolution and the current state of research on human rights and international economic law.
The objective of the roundtable is to take note of the current relationship between international human rights, trade and investment law; take stock of the existing body of relevant research and reform; and identify topics for further policy relevant research and avenues for future research collaboration.