Edited by Ljiljana Biukovic and Pitman B. Potter
Chapter 8: Identity matters: the enforcement of global human rights treaties by European Union trade instruments
The EU employs certain regional trade instruments (mainly regional trade agreements and trade preferences granted to developing countries) to promote compliance with global human rights law. The use of these trade mechanisms to enforce global human rights law is significantly motivated by the collective identity and perceived social role of the EU in the international community as a promoter of human rights worldwide. These EU identity-driven measures may also affect the identity of international actors targeted by such measures. Economic and political dimensions of international law are often overlain with a social identity dimension. While in reality these dimensions are inseparable, this chapter is devoted to a social identity analysis of the EU’s employment of external trade instruments to promote human rights worldwide. This chapter sheds light on the enactment of EU trade policies in this sphere, their employment, and their potential to enhance compliance with international human rights law. These EU identity-driven trade measures present both advantages and drawbacks, and have different effects on in-group and out-group members. A social identity analysis of the EU trade and human rights policy also offers some policy recommendations which may improve the prospects of EU measures in this field.
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