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WTO: UN experts urge negotiators to deliver on Doha commitments at the Nairobi conference

GENEVA (11 December 2015) – Ahead of the World Trade Organization’s 10th Ministerial Conference, a group of United Nations human rights experts called on Governments across the world to deliver on the Doha Round Development Agenda and not weasel out of prior commitments to address the needs of developing economies.

“If trade is to work for human rights and development it should contribute to the realization of the rights to adequate food, to the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, and to live in a clean environment,” the UN experts said in a public statement* addressed to negotiators due to gather in the Kenyan capital from 15 to 18 December.

“There is no justification for defaulting on the Doha Round commitments, as such action would have a detrimental impact on human rights in many countries,” the experts observed.   They deplored indications that certain developed countries will move for the premature ending of the Doha Round at the upcoming WTO Conference.

The independent experts emphasized that human rights obligations must be reaffirmed in the context of global trade rules to ensure that “WTO negotiations and rules support development efforts to eliminate the root causes of hunger, ill-health, and poverty, strengthen human rights protection and promotion and ultimately ensure that the newly adopted Sustainable Development Goals are achieved.”

In the context of the COP21 negotiations in Paris, the UN experts urged States “to ensure consistency of their commitments so as to make sure trade rules do not erode food security, health and environment protection, but rather contribute to strengthen human rights protection.”

“The WTO 10th Ministerial Conference will be the testing ground for the international community to place people before profits, to prioritise human rights above corporate rights, and to live by the vision of the United Nations as enshrined in the Preamble of its Charter, affirming the determination of ‘we the peoples’”.

(*) Read the UN human rights experts’ full statement: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16868&LangID=E

The experts:  Mr. Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Mr. Dainus Pūras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health and Ms. Hilal Helver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food.

The Special Rapporteurs and Independent Experts are part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent fact-finding and monitoring mechanisms that address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. Special Procedures’ experts work on a voluntary basis; they are not UN staff and do not receive a salary for their work. They are independent from any government or organization and serve in their individual capacity. Learn more, log on to: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/SP/Pages/Welcomepage.aspx

For more information and media requests please contact Thibaut Guillet (+41 22 917 9389 / tguillet@ohchr.org) or write to ie-internationalorder@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)  

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