First UN Intergovt. working group meeting on proposed business & human rights treaty

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Article
24 November 2015

Debate on proposed binding treaty: Report on 1st meeting of UN Intergovt. Working Group

Author: South Centre

"South Bulletin - Business and Human Rights: Commencing discussions on a legally binding instrument", 23 Nov 2015

This double issue of the South Bulletin…publishes reports on the first meeting of the Human Rights Council’s Working Group on a legally binding instrument on TNCs and other business enterprises with respect to human rights…The reports in this Bulletin cover general overview, and the discussions on the scope of application of the instrument, the obligations of states and businesses, and standards for legal liability and building mechanisms for access to remedy. The opening speeches of the Chairperson and a Special Rapporteur are also included…

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Article
14 July 2015

Is a Binding Treaty the Way Forward for Business and Human Rights?

Author: Michael Kourabas, Triple Pundit (USA)

Last week…a United Nations intergovernmental working group (IWG) held its first…session to debate the parameters of a potential binding treaty concerning corporate human rights abuses…[O]nly 9 of 28 EU member countries attended the first day of IWG consultations, and the U.S. boycotted the process entirely…[T]he EU bloc …demand[ed] that any future treaty encompass all enterprises – regardless of the transnational status of their activities…The issue of access to remedy, arguably the most significant problem facing corporate accountability advocates…failed to generate agreement, reportedly leading to more questions than answers…[C]onsensus was reached regarding the scope of human rights abuses to be covered by a future treaty.  Rather than limiting the scope of abuses to “gross violations” of human rights…the delegations unanimously agreed that the “full catalogue” of human rights abuses ought to come within the scope of a BHR treaty…Rather than turning to focus on a separate — though complementary — treaty negotiation process, victims of corporate human rights abuse and their advocates would be better served focusing on further strengthening the UNGPs and seeing them more widely implemented.  A binding BHR treaty makes sense — we’re just not ready for it yet.

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Article
13 July 2015

Efforts by all stakeholders in business & human rights treaty drafting process are vital, says academic after 1st session of UN Intergovt. Working Group

Author: Doug Cassel, Notre Dame Law School

"Treaty Process Gets Underway: Whoever Said It Would Be Easy?", 12 Jul 2015

The first session of the UN Intergovernmental Working Group to draft an “international legally binding instrument” on business and human rights convened in Geneva July 6-10…Organized thematically by topics ranging from general principles to remedial mechanisms, each topic began with presentations by experts, followed by interventions by States, then by civil society, and finally responses by the experts.  The quality of the experts and their interventions was high…Ecuador arranged for a diversity of backgrounds and views among panelists.  Some came from UN entities and experts…Business viewpoints were represented as well…NGO written submissions and interventions from the floor were informative and well thought out…Unfortunately, there were also major downsides.  First was a lack of State participation…Second was the absence of key home States of TNCs whose participation will be critical if TNCs are to be effectively regulated by a global treaty…Third was the rigidity…of several other countries in its core group of supporters (as discussed below in connection with the EU). And fourth was the lack of human rights credibility among some countries in that core group…The Key Divisive Issue: What Companies Will a Treaty Regulate?...[Also refers to Sodexo]

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Author: Relatora Especial de la ONU sobre Derechos de Pueblos Indígenas

Palabras de apertura. Primer periodo de sesiones del Grupo de Trabajo Intergubernamental sobre las empresas transnacionales con respecto a los derechos humanos

Los pueblos indígenas han ocupado un lugar destacado en las discusiones relativas a las violaciones de derechos humanos cometidas por corporaciones desde los años 70. Durante décadas, los pueblos indígenas han sido víctimas de las actividades de las corporaciones en sus territorios tradicionales o cerca de ellos, que han expoliado y contaminado sus territorios tradicionales sin su consentimiento, situando a muchos pueblos al borde de la extinción cultural o física."…"La adopción por el Consejo de Derechos Humanos de la resolución 26/9, que establece este Grupo de Trabajo, es un acontecimiento significativo. Las Naciones Unidas respondían a una petición generalizada, incluidos los pueblos indígenas, de fortalecimiento de la arquitectura del derecho internacional de derechos humanos para adaptarlo mejor a los desafíos que suponen las violaciones de derechos humanos relacionadas con las corporaciones."

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Article
13 July 2015

Unprecedented Discussions at the UN on a Business and Human Rights Treaty: Will States Walk the Talk?

Author: FIDH

This past week marked the first session of historic discussions within the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) towards a treaty on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. The process represents an unprecedented opportunity to effectively address the prevention and remedy of human rights abuses involving corporations. Despite a promising start on some core issues such as corporate liability and complicity, and the robust involvement of civil society, the absence of key States in the room is regrettable...

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Author: Mélanie Belfiore, Réseau International des Droits Humains (RIDH)

Aujourd’hui 10 juillet se clôture la première session de réunions du Groupe de Travail intergouvernemental… Ce matin aura lieu une réunion privée, dans laquelle il sera question de rédiger le rapport final de cette première session de réunions. Cette discussion sera sans doute la plus décisive, étant donné les incertitudes et les oppositions constatées tout au long de la semaine. Ainsi, les enjeux débattus au cours des précédentes réunions, tels que l’intégration de toutes les entreprises et pas uniquement les sociétés transnationales, devront être tranchés…[L]’après-midi, les États pourront partager leurs remarques finales, et adopter le rapport établi dans la matinée…

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Author: Rebecca Bucherer, Red Internacional de Derechos Humanos (RIDH)

Hoy...tendrá lugar en Ginebra la quinta y última sesión del Grupo de Trabajo intergubernamental para la elaboración de un instrumento jurídicamente vinculante en materia de empresas y derechos humanos...[L]a reunión de la mañana, en la que será preparado el reporte de la primera sesión del Grupo de Trabajo, será privada. En la tarde, de nuevo en sesión pública, se procederá a la adopción de dicho reporte...Las deliberaciones...fueron productivas y dieron lugar a un debate fructífero. La sesión matutina incluyó un amplio consenso sobre la necesidad de adoptar estándares de responsabilidad legal de carácter vinculante. Estados miembros y organizaciones no gubernamentales siguieron con interés la reunión de la tarde, en la que se abordó el tema de la creación de un mecanismo nacional e internacional para el acceso a la reparación. La discusión dejó, sin embargo, más preguntas que respuestas. En la tarde de hoy se sabrá si el reporte preparado por el Grupo de Trabajo llena las expectativas de los Estados (y de las ONG) y si, en consecuencia, será aprobado y adoptado.

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Author: Rebecca Bucherer y Lucía Castaño, Red Internacional de Derechos Humanos (RIDH)

Hoy viernes 10 de julio tendrá lugar en Ginebra la quinta y última sesión del Grupo de Trabajo intergubernamental para la elaboración de un instrumento jurídicamente vinculante en materia de empresas y derechos humanos…[L]a reunión de la mañana, en la que será preparado el reporte de la primera sesión del Grupo de Trabajo, será privada. En la tarde, de nuevo en sesión pública, se procederá a la adopción de dicho reporte…Estados miembros y organizaciones no gubernamentales siguieron con interés la reunión de la tarde, en la que se abordó el tema de la creación de un mecanismo nacional e internacional para el acceso a la reparación. La discusión dejó, sin embargo, más preguntas que respuestas…

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10 July 2015

IGWG on TNCs and other businesses: Day 5, Item 5, afternoon: Unanimous adoption of the report | RIDH's blog

Author: Rebecca Bucherer, International Network of Human Rights (INHR)

On 10.07.15, the open-ended intergovernmental working group…began its last meeting this afternoon with Item 5: Adoption of the report. The report…includes statements of panelists, member states, relevant stakeholders and non-governmental organizations…[T]he recommendations and conclusion of the report were unanimously adopted by all the present member states…[M]ember states had the opportunity to add some concluding remarks…Many countries stated their concern and disappointment in regard to the absence of the European Union and western countries from today's meeting and the entire first session. Non-governmental organizations which took the floor thereafter, expressed their gratitude for the first session of this open-ended intergovernmental working group and echoed the concern stated by member state in regard to the absence of important countries…Everyone will…have 15 days to add suggestions and recommendations to the report before it will be introduced in the framework of the 30th regular session of the Human Rights Council, held from 14th of September until the 2nd of October 2015…The next session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group…will take place in 2016…

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Article
10 July 2015

Intergovernmental working group on Business and Human Rights: Day 5

Author: Rebecca Bucherer, International Network of Human Rights (RIDH)

Today, the 10.07.15, the intergovernmental working group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights...will start its fifth and last day of the first session...Today’s morning session will, different from previous ones, be held in private. This will allow them to prepare the minute-report of the first session of the Working Group. The afternoon session, again publically accessible, will then adopt the report prepared in the morning. Yesterday’s deliberations were productive and permeated by fruitful debate. The morning session included a broad consensus on the need to adapt a legal liability standard consisting of a binding character. The afternoon session, which was dealing with the creation of a national and international mechanism for access to remedy, was followed with interest by member states and non-governmental organisations, however, led to more questions than answers. Whether the report meets the expectations of member states (and non-governmental organisations) and will as a consequence be approved and adopted, will be disclosed this afternoon.

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