EU Trade Commissioner says that human & labour rights situation in Myanmar & Cambodia is going backwards

Author: Radio Free Asia, Published on: 6 July 2019

"Interview: 'We Are Worried About The Degenerated Situation For Human Rights in The Area", 1 July 2019

...European Union Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström....discussed the intersection between trade and human rights issues in Vietnam, Cambodia, and Myanmar.

RFA: Critics say that the EU's FTA with Vietnam will not really enforce human rights standards and will continue offshoring jobs that leave workers vulnerable. How do you argue against that?

Malmström: ...We have been pushing the Vietnamese authorities to ratify the core ILO [International Labour Organization] conventions.... There is ...the trade agreement. ...[A] trade agreement...creates a platform together with the association agreement to continue to engage, to push, and to work with the Vietnamese authorities to improve the situation.

RFA: Critics also have said that the EU is not applying consistent standards.... Your response?

Malmström: They are two different things because when we gave these trade privileges to Myanmar and to Cambodia.... But it says in the legal text that if they are going backwards, if the situation is not moving in the right direction, we can take action....

RFA: The EU sent a delegation that included representatives...over EBA preferences. What was discussed?

Malmström: That is part of the process...of a possible withdrawal of the EBA preferences in Cambodia because of violations of human rights, labor rights, and other issues. ...This will result in a report, and then the Cambodian authorities have until mid-August to respond....


RFA: Where do you see Cambodia heading?

Malmström: ...We do think that compared to a few years ago, the situation is going backwards.... That's why we have issued this very serious warning. But still the process is not completed yet.

RFA: Where does Myanmar's EBA agreement stand now?

Malmström: With Myanmar, Cambodia, and Bangladesh, we are looking at them specifically because there have been worrying developments in human rights in all these three countries....


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