The Mercosur trade deal is likely to “drastically increase” deforestation, carbon emissions, and the abuse of indigenous people drastically, postgraduate law students at the Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway have warned.

A newly published analysis of the EU-Mercosur Free Trade Agreement came to the conclusion that the agreement should not be ratified in its current form.

The researchers claim the agreement is inconsistent with the European Green Deal, which commits the EU to climate neutrality by 2050.

One of the report’s authors, Simon Seitz, said: “At a crucial time for states to meet their Paris Agreement commitments, we find that EU-Mercosur will lead to further deforestation of the precious Amazon rainforest as well as other important eco-systems.

“Our report highlights devastating human rights violations of indigenous communities living in the Amazon basin who are being killed and whose land has been taken away for industrial farming. We are asking the question - can this be allowed in the name of short-term economic gain?”

Human rights

The researchers point out the harm to human rights from the increased use of pesticides in Mercosur countries that are not licensed for use in the EU.

They highlight that the lack of central participation by indigenous peoples in the negotiation of the trade deal breaches the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples.

The report notes that Brazil has not ratified the 1948 International Labour Organisation Convention on Freedom of Association and Protection of the Right to Organise and that the EU-Mercosur trade deal does not contain binding requirements to respect workers’ rights.