Free trade agreements
Alliance Sud is working specifically to ensure that the stringent intellectual property provisions of Switzerland's free trade agreements do not undermine the human rights of people in the Global South, first and foremost their rights to health and to seeds.
What it is about
As developing countries have become more powerful in the World Trade Organization and no longer accept being dictated to by the rich countries, Switzerland has opted for a policy of concluding free trade agreements. In this way it secures more concessions than in the multilateral framework, especially in terms of strengthened intellectual property rights, which in turn endangers the rights to health and to seeds.
Alliance Sud is advocating for Switzerland to conduct human rights studies designed to gauge the human rights implications of these agreements. It is making the case for these agreements not to endanger the environment and the climate by facilitating deforestation or the expansion of agribusiness to the detriment of smallholders and indigenous peoples. It is calling for the inclusion of an enforceable chapter on sustainable development, in other words, one that provides for penalties in the event of infringement, like all the other chapters in the agreement.