The European Parliament prioritises trade interests over human rights and sustainable development

autor: FIAN, oidhaco, Friends of the Earth u.a.

Brussels, 11th of December 2012 – The  European Parliament has prioritised trade over human rights and sustainable development today in a vote that brings into force two agreements between the European Union and Central America, and Colombia and Peru. The agreements will do nothing to address human rights abuses in Latin America, and do not take into consideration the asymmetries between the two regions, according to broad group of civil society organisations [1].

In October, more than 160 European and Latin American civil society organisations sent a letter to the European Parliament, demanding it reject the Free Trade Agreement between the European Union and Colombia and Peru. In June, 11 Central American networks and six European and international networks pronounced their opposition to the Association Agreement between the European Union and Central America signed in Honduras on the 29th of June, one day after the third anniversary of the coup d’état en Honduras. These appeals came amid fears of the dramatic consequences these agreements might have on human rights, food sovereignty, local economies such as the dairy sector and the environment — impacting the lives of entire communities.

The two agreements build upon the ‘business as usual’ model of raw material extraction and export from Latin American countries to the European Union – a model proven to favour transnational corporations over inclusive and sustainable development. For example, the European Commission’s own study on the sustainability impacts of the agreements show an increase in biofuel production for export – with the resulting increase of pressure on land. The impacts of this are being felt by rural populations, especially indigenous peoples [2].

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