Free Trade Agreements, Neighborhood Policy and its Impact on Human Rights

Proclaimed as fundamental values ??by the European Union (EU), human rights, democracy and the rule of law are enshrined in its founding treaty and have been reinforced by the adoption in 2000 of the Fundamental Rights Charter and entry into force in 2009 of the Treaty of Lisbon, which makes them legally binding.

The EU therefore considers human rights as universal and indivisible, and declares that it wants to promote and defend them actively within the Union and in its relations with non-member countries.

Among the tools of its foreign relations, the EU has established in 2004 the European Neighborhood Policy (ENP) to foster closer relations with neighboring countries in order to promote prosperity, stability and security in these regions. In principle, this policy is based on a mutual commitment to common values ??such as democracy, human rights, rule of law, good governance, the principles of the market economy and sustainable development.

Moreover, the ENP aims to promote, in addition to cooperation and economic relations, political association, a higher level of economic integration, improved mobility and increased contacts between peoples.

The Euromed Network of Moroccan NGOs, a civil society organization believing in the universality of human rights, conducted- among other things- civil society evaluation reports of the implementation of the EU-Morocco Action Plan in 2007, 2009, 2010 and 2012.

As part of the International Forum on Human Rights, the Euromed Network of Moroccan NGOs proposes to organize a thematic forum on the theme: Free trade agreements, neighborhood policy and its impact on human rights , gathering participants from the Euromed area, MENA, Sub-Saharan Africa, the countries of the Pacific and Latin America,

This expansion is justified by at least two reasons:

First, because all these regions are partners of the EU and signed with it various agreements of cooperation, including the group of African, Caribbean and Pacific States (ACP, 78) and the South American countries of the Southern Common Market (MERCOSUR)

Second, because of the persistence in these regions of problems relating to human rights, the rule of law and good governance, and because of the size, diversity and richness of civil society organizations that play an active role in building democracy and sustainable development of these countries. All of which corresponds to the broad guidelines of the ENP. Their participation can only be a carrier of enrichment and positive synergy to this forum.

The forum's main objectives are:

1. Develop an advocacy plan to further promote human rights within the framework of the ENP and free trade agreements consistent with the core values ??of the EU set out from the first pages of the Treaty of Lisbon.;

2. Reflect on methods of extension of monitoring of human rights in the countries covered by the ENP and the free trade agreements, with more active and comprehensive involvement of NGOs and experts in the field;

3. Develop a tracking (manual or White Paper) for the players in all these regions and participants working on the same issues.

 

The forum is expected to discuss the following topics:

1. Human rights between conventions and effectiveness; economic, social, cultural and environmental rights in relation to the impacts of globalization and sociological, cultural and technological mutations; the rights of women and children;

2. Youth rights and social change; youth and the media, school dropout, unemployment, literacy and vocational training;

3. Justice, prisons, torture, death penalty; European Criminal Court of Human Rights; Mobility, immigration, drug trafficking and people;

4. Good governance, freedom of speech and press, money laundering

Forum partners are Citizens' School of Political Studies, the Euromed Platform, and the Bouabid Foundation, member organizations of the Euromed Morocco Network, Euromed Network of Human Rights, the International Federation for Human Rights Leagues, ENDA West Africa, Social Watch, ANND and Africa Trade N