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Commissioner for Trade, Mr De Gucht,

Brussels, 4 July 2014

Open letter: EU negotiations with Vietnam, DG Trade called on to carry out HRI
Dear Commissioner,
FID has consistently denounced the lac! of im"lementation of the #$ commitments to duly "roceed to
human ri%hts im"act assessments &'I() *hen launchin% trade and in+estment a%reement ne%otiations,
Throu%h +arious a""roaches, &namely letters and meetin%s *ith mem-ers of your team) FID and the
.ietnam Committee on uman 'i%hts &.C'), its mem-er or%anisation, ha+e as!ed for such assessments in
the on%oin% trade and in+estment ne%otiations *ith .ietnam
(ns*erin% on the 2/ June 2010 to our o"en letter dated 00 ("ril 2010, you considered that the sustaina-ility
im"act assessment &1I() carried out in 2002 for all (1#(3 countries remained +alid, des"ite the fact that it
did not inte%rate any human ri%hts analysis, 4e are %i+en to understand that you consider this lac! of a
human ri%hts com"onent to -e 5ustified -ecause the ne%otiations *ith .ietnam are ta!in% "lace under the
le%al frame*or! esta-lished in 2006 for FT( and the #$ has only committed itself to includin% human ri%hts
in its assessments in 2011 and 2012, after the #$ Charter of fundamental ri%hts entered into force, and after
the ado"tion of the #$ action "lan on human ri%hts and democracy,
4e *ould li!e to as! you reconsider your "osition in li%ht of the follo*in% le%al ar%uments and
o The #$ has an o-li%ation to ensure that the trade a%reements it concludes do not lead to human ri%hts
+iolations in the #$ and the countries *here they are im"lemented, In order to do so, the #$ should
conduct 'I(s and ta!e all necessary measures to "re+ent trade and in+estment a%reements from
im"edin% the en5oyment of human ri%hts inside #uro"e and in other countries, 1uch an o-li%ation is
%rounded in -oth international and #uro"ean $nion la*, (s hi%hli%hted -y the $3 1"ecial 'a""orteur
on the 'i%ht to Food, 7since 1tates are -ound -y these 8human ri%hts9 "re:e;istin% treaty o-li%ations,
they are "rohi-ited from concludin% any a%reements that *ould im"ose on them inconsistent o-li%ations,
Therefore, there is a duty to identify any "otential inconsistency -et*een "re:e;istin% human ri%hts
treaties and su-se<uent trade or in+estment a%reements, and to refrain from enterin% into such
a%reements *here such inconsistencies are found to e;ist=, 7By "re"arin% human ri%hts im"act
assessments "rior to the conclusion of trade and in+estment a%reements, 1tates are addressin% their
o-li%ations under the human ri%hts treaties=
, From a #uro"ean le%al "ers"ecti+e, res"ect for human
ri%hts has -ecome >a re<uirement of the la*fulness of #uro"ean acts>, The #uro"ean Court of Justice
reco%nises its role in "rotectin% fundamental ri%hts referrin% to >international treaties for the "rotection
of human ri%hts on *hich the Mem-er 1tates ha+e colla-orated or of *hich they are si%natories>, The
?"en @etter A .ietnam and Free trade (%reement ne%otiationsA 3G?s ur%e the #$ to carry out a human ri%hts im"act assessment, 00 ("ril 2010 B
The #$Cs 1trate%ic Frame*or! and (ction Dlan on uman 'i%hts and Democracy E one year after its ado"tion, 24 June 2010 B Trade relationsA
'eluctant to assess human ri%hts in .ietnam, the #$ fails to res"ect its commitments, 0 July 2010
(F'CF12FG2FHdd,G, 'e"ort of the 1"ecial 'a""orteur on the 'i%ht to Food, ?li+ier De 1chutter, Addendum, Guiding Principles On Human Rights
Impact Assessments of Trade and Investment Agreements, Decem-er 2011, ", 6 In addition, under international la*, >1tates cannot release themsel+es
from these o-li%ations sim"ly -y dele%atin% "o*ers rele+ant to their im"lementation to the #$>, Mem-er 1tates ha+e the res"onsi-ility to ensure that
their human ri%hts o-li%ations 7*ill recei+e an e<ui+alent "rotection= e+en if they ha+e dele%ated "o*er to international or%anisations, 7Mem-er
1tates remain -ound -y these o-li%ations and *ill incur international res"onsi-ility to the e;tent that the #$ does not fulfil those duties,> They
>remain res"onsi-le for -reaches of human ri%hts o-li%ations resultin% from any acts or omissions re<uired -y the la*s of the inter%o+ernmental
or%anisations &IG?)> and this remains true 7irres"ecti+e of the de%ree of control e;ercised -y the 1tates in <uestion o+er the im"u%ned action>B $3,
uman 'i%hts ?ffice of the i%h Commissioner, The #uro"ean $nion and International uman 'i%hts @a* &n 1G), ", G0, Ta*hida (hmed and Israel
de JesIs Butler, 7The #uro"ean $nion and uman 'i%htsA (n International @a* Ders"ecti+e=, #ur J Int @a* &200/) 16 &4)A 6J2 and numerous
5uris"rudence cited, includin%A einK +, the Contractin% 1tates "arty to the #uro"ean Datent Con+ention insofar as they are i%h Contractin% Darties to
the #uro"ean Con+ention on uman 'i%hts, #uro"ean Commission of uman 'i%hts Decision, ("", 3o, 21020F22, 1G ?ct, 1222B Matthe*s +, $L,
#uro"ean Court of uman 'i%hts &#Ct'), ("", 3o, 24J00F24, 1J Fe-,1222, "ara, 0B Ca"ital Ban! (d +, Bul%aria, #Ct', ("", 3o, 42422F22, 24
3o+, 200G, "ara, 111B Bos"horus a+a Mollari TuriKm .e Ticaret (nonim Nir!eti +, Ireland, #Ct', ("", 3o, 4G00/F2J, 00 June 200G,

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Treaty on #uro"ean $nion &T$#), *hich confirms that the #$ is founded on res"ect for human ri%hts,
re<uires res"ect for the Charter of Fundamental 'i%hts of the #$, In addition, (rticles 21 of the T$# and
206 of the TF$# &Treaty on the Functionin% of the #uro"ean $nion), res"ecti+ely s"ecify that the #$Cs
e;ternal action in the field of commercial "olicy shall see! >to ad+ance in the *ider *orldA democracy,
the rule of la*, the uni+ersality and indi+isi-ility of human ri%hts and fundamental freedoms, res"ect for
human di%nity, the "rinci"les of e<uality and solidarity, and res"ect for the "rinci"les of the $nited
3ations Charter and international la*>, and that the #$ >shall define and "ursue common "olicies and
actions 8O9 in order to 8O9 &-) consolidate and su""ort democracy, the rule of la*, human ri%hts and the
"rinci"les of international la*>, These "ro+isions, contained in the "rimary la* of the #$ ha+e -een
formulated to -e -indin% &usin% shall instead of should), and o-li%e the #$ not to ta!e any action that
*ould "re+ent or ma!e more difficult the realisation of human ri%hts, -ut rather to ta!e all measures
a+aila-le to facilitate the res"ect, "rotection and fulfilment of human ri%hts in "artner countries, 1uch
measures must -e 7a""ro"riate= and 7sufficient=
, and concern the im"lementation of the #$Cs e;ternal
acti+ities as *ell as the "lannin% and desi%n of those acti+ities
(s a result, the commitment made in 2011F2012 to include human ri%hts in im"act assessments and to
ta!e human ri%hts into consideration *hen ne%otiatin% trade and in+estment a%reements is fully
a""lica-le to the current ne%otiation *ith .ietnam, This commitment is the official inter"retation %i+en
to -indin% and "re:e;istin% human ri%hts o-li%ations
and it ensures com"liance *ith the "rinci"le of
%ood administration, It a""lies irres"ecti+ely of the date the ne%otiations *ere launched, as human ri%hts
im"act assessments aim to "re+ent non:com"liance of the future a%reement and its im"lementation
acti+ities *ith e;istin% human ri%hts o-li%ations,
o In addition, *e -rin% to your attention the follo*in% de+elo"ments that ha+e occurred since your 2/ June
2010 letterA
o The ne%otiation mandate has e;"anded to encom"ass an in+estment com"onent, and an In+estor:
state dis"ute settlement &I1D1) mechanism is considered, Conse<uently, *e can no lon%er
consider that the ne%otiation mandate has remained the same as in 2002, *hen the 1I( *as
carried out, and the im"acts of this ne* com"onent should -e assessed,
o The resolution ado"ted -y the #uro"ean Darliament on 16 ("ril 2014 on the 7state of "lay of the
#$:.ietnam Free Trade (%reement &FT()= ur%ed the Commission to carry out a human ri%hts
im"act assessment 7in line *ith the %uidin% "rinci"les of the $3 1"ecial 'a""orteur on the ri%ht
to food=, By doin% so, the #uro"ean Darliament, *hich has the "o*er to refuse its consent to the
future trade and in+estment a%reement, underscored the #uro"ean CommissionCs "rotracted
failure to com"ly *ith its o-li%ations,
o The Council conclusions 7on a ri%hts:-ased a""roach to de+elo"ment coo"eration,
encom"assin% all human ri%hts= ado"ted on 12 May 2014 *hich, insisted on "olicy coherence
and underlined the im"ortance for the Commission to carry out 7human ri%hts im"act
assessments for trade and in+estment a%reements= in that re%ard,
Based on this, *e reiterate our re<uest to realiKe in:de"th human ri%hts im"act assessment for the trade and
in+estment a%reement ne%otiated *ith .ietnam,
(s the ne;t round of tal!s *ill -e held -efore the end of 1e"tem-er, *ith smaller meetin%s -ein% held durin%
the summer, the effecti+e launch of the human ri%hts assessment is -ecomin% an increasin%ly ur%ent matter
and *e e;"ect you to "ro+ide us *ith a concrete and "ositi+e ans*er *ithin the ne;t t*o months,
1incerely yours,
!arim "ahid#i
International Federation for uman 'i%hts &FID)
$3 uman 'i%hts Committee, Concluding Observations on the Sith Periodic Report of German!, &n14), P 1/
(rticle 21, Treaty on #uro"ean $nion,
1ee also in that sense 1, 1#C&2002)22, Im"act assessment %uidelines, 1G January 2002B
htt"AFFec,euro"a,euF%o+ernanceFim"actFcommissionQ%uidelinesFdocsFia%Q2002Qen,"df sayin% that im"act assessments "helps to #$%to ensure
coherence $ and consistency &ith Treat! ob'ectives such as the respect for Fundamental Rights (()**+,p- .,/ 1ee also the 5uris"rudence of the
Cour of Justice that a""lied the #$ charter of fundamental ri%hts -efore its inte%ration in the foundin% treatiesB

Vo Van i
.ietnam Committee on uman 'i%hts &.C')
Ms Catherine (shton,
Mr @am-rinidis,
Mem-er 1tates,
Mem-ers of the #uro"ean Darliament

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