Human rights refer to entitlements that give rise to legal obligations on part of others or basic and natural rights that humans have. Human rights are made to ensure every one feels accepted, respected, protected and all basic needs fulfilled rightfully and indiscriminately irrespective of color, social status, origin or even gender.
In international trading there are certain aspects of humanity that should be adhered to or provided to ensure equal playing ground for all players involved in the trade. Even with trading all the countries involved should ensure their citizens are not in any way affected to an extend that they are denied the three important aspects of human rights which include:
It is the duty of every state to ensure that human rights are fully respected in any dealings the country engages in through state policies, laws and actions which involve international trading or businesses with other countries. These prerequisites require states to ensure that none of its ministries, institutions or departments engages in business dealings or any engagement which may violate or lead to violation, or hinder enjoyment of human rights by its citizens across the board.
Every state is compelled to ensure enjoyment of human rights indiscriminatingly by every citizen and it is the country’s duty to ensure human rights are protected from abuse by third parties; the third parties would include actions by individuals (whether in private or public sectors) which can be through employment powers, trading partners who may focus most on profit generation at the expense of county’s citizens, and various groups at all levels of society including corporations, private and public institutions. Protection can be achieved by enacting and implementing laws meant to protect citizens from all manners of exploitation and also establishing an easily accessible and elaborate redress system incases of violation.
The countries involved in international trade are obliged to ensure the policies adopted to guide the trading live up to the laid down regulations aimed at protecting enjoyment of human rights by its citizens.
States involved in international businesses or trading are obliged to put the necessary measures in place to ensure realization of human rights in practice through enactment and adoption of legislative and other measures such as provision of education, (which would empower people to make them aware of their rights) and other public services and policies designed to ensure access by every one including the marginalized groups like the rural poor, women, indigenous people and so on to the basic needs. States should offer both technical and professional trainings to ensure its citizens understand importance of business and trading and also to facilitate, promote and provide all the necessary skills for healthy business relationships.
“Some experts argue that trade is inherent to human nature and that when governments inhibit international trade they directly inhibit the right to work, which is a fundamental human right, and other indirect benefits, like the right to education, that increased work and investment help accrue” (Soraya, par. 2-3).
It is outright that the ability to trade does not affect everyone equally, often the marginalized in the society suffer more, for example the rural poor, indigenous groups, and women are less likely to enjoy the benefits of healthy trade yet if trading went sour and there were any consequences to be endured the same group is bound to suffer more, it is thus an obligation of the trading partners to ensure they make provisions to protect the marginalized from exploitation and consequences incases of failure.
“There are some complexities arising from classification of the right to trade as a fundamental right since all trade regimes creates winners and losers and changing the rules would only create different losers not necessarily fewer” (Meyn, par. 2-3).
Labor standard within the world trade organization should be recognized, to ensure fair and equally beneficial trade amongst groups engaged in unitary businesses. It is therefore important for all business grouping to uphold laid down policies of trading to ensure all members are protected indiscriminatingly.
“The World Trade forum 2001, on trade and human rights addressed some of the most controversial and challenging issues in the ongoing public debate on globalization, the relationship between institutions and norms regulating global economic activity and institutions and norms promoting and protecting human rights” (Abbott, 5). International trade and human rights should address the relationship between human rights and international trade to ensure the rights of individuals involved in trading are not in any way violated as a result of engaging in the latter and should be in a way that is unique and interdisciplinary.
The world trade organization should entrench human rights in international trade regimes to ensure universality in application of world trade policies which are sensitive to humanity irrespective of color, race, social status and origins. It should also seek to address human rights interest affected by fast growing rate of globalization.
The globalization of investments and production in the past few years has expanded the bounds of labor rights discourse; therefore it is necessary to constantly review labor laws to ensure they remain relevant to the growing rates of globalization and to also ensure as world trade engages mostly in profit realization, humane attributes are observed and adhered to.
World trade involves all manners of commodities, but in the past there have been incidents where people have been buried alive in gold mine caves, diamond mines and so on like in Tanzania and even in Nigeria where people burned as they worked in petroleum depots, the question remains as to whether these people’s rights were violated or whether the working conditions were appropriate to prevent these uncertainties from happening. Increased demand for major products like gold, diamond, petroleum, and so on from the world market motivates countries to do anything in their powers to produce enough in order to quench the demand and earn enough foreign exchange; this may involve overdoing major ores, putting their citizens at risk.
There have been fears and complains that some developed countries take advantage of world trade to dump unimportant or useless products in developing countries, these products may include computers, mobile phones, or any other technology based products. Some of these products have diverse effects on the wellbeing of humans an aspect which violates human rights of individuals in these locations. The world trade organization should put up measures to ensure trading products meet certain laid down standards to protect developing countries from this kind of problem thus upholding fundamental human rights which would otherwise be violated.
In conclusion it is necessary for every trading country to entrench human rights in their trade policies to empower its citizens to participate without fear of being exploited and to also build on their good will. It is also upon each country involved in international trade to ensure before any imported commodity is released to the citizens for usage; it undergoes the necessary tests in order to establish quality and to rule out consequences which may arise as a result of low quality product consumption. On adoption the international trading standards would be improved and human rights violations would be put on check.
Abbott, Fernandez. International trade and Human Rights: foundation and conceptual issues (World Trade Forum, Vol. 5), University of Michigan press, Michigan, United States of America. 2005. Print.
Meyn, M. “Beyond rights: Trading to win”. COPLA. 2008. Web.
Soraya, F. “protecting access to markets”, COPLA. 2008. Web.