Hastings International and Comparative Law Review


Olufemi Amao


This paper examines the human rights dimension of trade agreements between the European Union ("EU") and the African Caribbean and Pacific ("ACP") group of countries and their relevance to the control of multinational corporations ("MNCs"). It notes that even though MNCs are the major beneficiaries of the agreements, they have not been prominent in the discourse. The paper explores the foundation for the inclusion of human rights issues in trade agreements, and argues in favour of their legitimacy. The study contends that human rights clauses in the agreements should be triggered where there are human rights violations in the territory of a contracting party, including violations by MNCs. It is argued that with a proper approach to the inclusion and implementation of human rights issues in trade agreements, the European Union can ensure that host States do not allow private parties such as MNCs to violate human rights with impunity.