International trade should incorporate all human rights, including women’s rights

Addressing the annual WTO Public Forum, the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay said “Progress must not merely be measured and assessed in terms of economic growth and volume of exchanges of goods and services, but also in terms of the impact such trade has on those who live at the margins of the global market.”

UN Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says international trade should incorporate all human rights © WTORaising concerns that women are affected differently by trade policies, Pillay listed constraints such as, sexual violence, lack of security, credit and education as factors impeding women’s access to markets.

“A troubling aspect of women’s work in the global market – particularly migrant women’s labour – is that it tends to be concentrated in informal sectors which expose them to a heightened risk of abuse, including low wages, long hours and uncertainty of tenure,”, she said.

The three day forum, “The Forces Shaping World Trade” provided an opportunity for more than 1500 participants drawn from civil society, academia, business, the media, governments and inter-governmental organizations including regional economic and development organizations, to express their views on the many influences on global and regional trade.

Read the full text of the High Commissioner’s speech.

17 September 2010