On 4 November, the ICJ and 16 other organizations called on Members of the European Parliament (MEPs) to postpone consent to the EU-Vietnam Free Trade Agreement (EVFTA) and the Investment Protection Agreement (IPA) until the Vietnamese government seriously tackles the deteriorating human rights situation in the country.
The letter was addressed to the President of the European Parliament, Chair of the International Trade Committee, Chair of the Foreign Affairs Committee, Chair of the Human Rights Subcommittee, Chair of the Development Committee and all Members of the European Parliament.
Noting that the Vietnamese government had, in recent years, intensified its crackdown on human rights defenders, members of civil society, religious groups and individuals who express opinions deemed critical of the government, continued to strictly curtail the rights to free expression, opinion, association and assembly, and tightly control the press, civil society and religious groups, the organizations expressed regret that negotiations for the EVFTA and the IPA had not led to more explicit and tangible human rights commitments from the Vietnamese government.
Vietnam currently benefits of unilateral trade preferences through the Generalised Scheme of Preferences (GSP), and the country’s failure to uphold its numerous human rights obligations under the scheme has yet to incur substantial pushback by the EU.
The organizations urged MEPs to ask the European Commission to set up an independent monitoring and complaint mechanism to address the human rights impacts that the EVFTA and IPA may have.
Frederick Rawski, Director, ICJ Asia and the Pacific, email: Frederick.Rawski(a)icj.orgAdvocacyNewsWeb stories