UAE Trade Pact Undermines Australian Policy on Human Rights and Environment

July 10, 2024, AFTINET Media Release

A group of eight national organisations representing millions of Australians have issued a warning to the Trade Minister that a trade pact with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) contradicts government policy on labour rights and the environment.

The group comprises the Australian Fair Trade and Investment Network (AFTINET), Australian Council of Trade Unions (ACTU), Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF), Amnesty International Australia, ActionAid Australia, the Australian Catholic Bishops Conference Office of Justice Ecology and Peace, Family Planning Alliance Australia (FPAA) and the Uniting Church in Australia, Synod of Victoria and Tasmania.

Collapse of the Australia-EU FTA negotiations should not open the door to deals without human rights and environmental commitments

29 November, 2023: Following the collapse of the Australia-EU Free Trade Agreement (FTA) last month, there is some media speculation that the Albanese government might attempt to bolster its free trade agenda by reviving  a trade deal with the United Arab Emirates (UAE), despite its poor human rights and labour rights record.

Free Trade negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) should not proceed

January 30, 2023: The previous Coalition government initiated a scoping negotiations for a Free Trade Agreement with the UAE, comprising the following emirates: Abu Dhabi, Dubai, Sharjah, Ajman, Umm Al-Quwain, and Fujairah and Ras Al Khaimah, and with the Gulf Cooperation Council, which includes Saudi Arabia and Qatar. AFTINET made a submission to the previous government in April 2022 arguing that  both negotiations should not proceed because of gross violation of human rights and labour rights in these countries.

As of January 2023, the GCC negotiations were not proceeding but scoping discussions were continuing with the UAE, and the Labor government had not yet made a decision about whether to proceed with negotiations.

AFTINET calls on government to withdraw from trade negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC)

April 21, 2022: AFTINET has called on the government to withdraw from trade negotiations with the United Arab Emirates (UAE) and the Gulf Cooperation Council (GCC) until sustained improvements are demonstrated in human rights, labour rights, and women’s rights.

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