International trade negotiations in agriculture must respect human rights

GENEVA – March 30, 2005 – The United Nations must ensure that negotiations on international trade in agriculture respect human rights, including the right to adequate food and water, says a coalition of prominent international human rights groups including Rights & Democracy.

In a statement presented by Rights & Democracy today at the 61st Session of UN Commission on Human Rights in Geneva, the coalition points to UN estimates that more than 850-million people lack adequate food, despite the fact that the world produces more than enough to feed everyone. Of that number, 80% live in rural areas and work in agricultural sectors too often undermined by imported, under-priced agricultural surplus dumped on their domestic markets.

According to the statement, members of the United Nations should take concrete steps to ensure that the current WTO negotiations on agricultural trade consider and address its impact on human rights, including the right to an adequate standard of living, the right to food and the right to water.

“It should be the responsibility of each and every country to ensure that its international trade practices respect the ability of other countries to uphold their human rights commitments,” said Jean-Louis Roy, President of Rights & Democracy. “How can we turn a blind eye to international trade practices that result in human rights violations that we would never tolerate within our own borders?”

The statement was spearheaded by a coalition of non-governmental organizations created during the WTO’s 5th Ministerial Meeting in Cancun in order to promote respect for human rights within trade negotiations.

For the complete statement, please visit :