Advancing human rights through trade

Why stronger human rights monitoring is needed and how to make it work
Research paper Updated 27 May 2021 Published 26 May 2021 ISBN: 978 1 78413 476 1

Rosie Rowe

Consultant researcher

Political shifts, the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic, and the struggle for a shared vision of how to ‘build back better’, have reignited the debate about trade and human rights. 

Although many trade agreements take human rights impacts into consideration, the monitoring systems that have emerged so far are not comprehensive. Without robust human rights monitoring, trading partners have little chance of ensuring that their counterparts are meeting their commitments.

While there are considerable structural, political and resource-related challenges to conducting more systematic and effective human rights monitoring, recent experiences in this field can help policymakers design more effective monitoring mechanisms for the future.