By Cristina-Elena Pestrea, Institute for Cultural Diplomacy.
The thesis on “Using the WTO for the Protection of Human Rights in China?” was presented by Phil C.W. Chan,Senior Visiting Scholar in Political Science, Department of Political Science, Vanderbilt University during the A World Without Walls:”An International Conference on Peacebuilding, Reconciliation and Globalization in an Interdependent World” organized by the Institute for Cultural Diplomacy in Berlin on November 2010.
The conference brought together scholars and academics, civil society practitioners, journalists, political and diplomatic representatives and other interested stakeholders. A world without walls 2010 gave the opportunity of all the participants to look in detail at the major conflicts across the world today, from disputes amongst communities at the local level to international disputes between regions and multi-lateral organizations. Through constructive discussion and debate the conference assessde the changing global environment and explored how non-governmental organizations, governments, and individual stakeholders can support peacebuilding, reconciliation, and conflict de-escalation across the world.
The paper on the Protection of Human Rights in China with the use of the WTO gave one perspective on how trade and human rights can be conciliated.
“The question of the conflict and commensurability between human rights and trade has received an abundance of scholarly attention (and mass protests) in the past two decades. Many human rights advocates believe that liberalisation of trade regulations causes and contributes to human rights abuses and violations, whilst trade advocates believe that enhanced international trade provides benefits and opportunities and a generally higher standard of living especially in developing countries. With China’s accession to the World Trade Organisation in December 2001, the significance and immediacy of the relationship between human rights and trade has become ever more pronounced, as the human rights situation in China continues to be unfavourable. This article examines the notion and development of human rights in China, whether the WTO is legally capable of impacting the development and enforcement of human rights in China through its compulsory dispute resolution and enforcement mechanisms and its provision for trade sanctions and whether it is indeed desirable for the WTO to do so.”
The full version of the paper can be read here