(Washington, DC) – The proposed Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) economic and trade agreement raises numerous human rights concerns despite unprecedented efforts to address labor issues, Human Rights Watch said today in a new Q & A. The TPP’s rights problems should be addressed before the agreement enters into force, Human Rights Watch said.

“As the TPP moves toward ratification, policymakers should reflect carefully on how the agreement will affect over 800 million people living in Pacific Rim countries,” said Sarah Margon, Washington Director at Human Rights Watch. “The TPP is a far-reaching agreement whose human rights harms should be addressed now before they are replicated in future trade and economic agreements worldwide.”

The agreement should have gone further to protect labor rights, and there are serious concerns with provisions related to the right to health, free expression and privacy online. The agreement’s labor chapter and associated bilateral agreements do not have adequate labor rights safeguards for countries with poor labor rights records, like Vietnam, Malaysia, Mexico, Peru, and Brunei.

Another concern raised in the Q & A is that the TPP’s provisions affecting the pharmaceutical industry, which extend monopolistic patent and regulatory protections, will make it more difficult for people to affordably obtain life-saving medicines. In addition, the TPP’s copyright provisions could make it easier for governments to abuse intellectual property rules to stifle online dissent.

The Q & A is available here.