LIVE: Second UN Intergovt. working group meeting on proposed business & human rights treaty

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Article
4 November 2016

Final day of UN Intergovt. working group meeting on proposed binding treaty focused on access to remedies

Author: European Coalition for Corporate Justice

"UN Treaty Talks Day 5: Morality cannot be legislated, but behaviour can be regulated", 2 Nov 2016

The last day of the IGWG on Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and Other Business Enterprises (OBEs) focused on access to remedies and on approving the meeting report.  The morning panel on Lessons learned and challenges to access to remedy (selected cases from different sectors and regions) offered a space for representatives of civil society and experts to discuss potential avenues to improving access to justice for victims of corporate abuse...The afternoon session revolved around the meeting report. After brief, but tense, discussions among States – with Russia together with EU, and South Africa on opposite ends of the debate regarding the Chair’s mandate in preparing the 2017 session – the room reached a compromise agreement.  The draft report approved ad referendum includes a mention that next meeting will particularly focus on operative paragraph three of Resolution 26/9, stating that the Chair would “prepare elements for the draft legally binding instrument for substantive negotiations” for 2017’s IGWG discussions...Although relevant progress was made on the UN Treaty, most important decisions and discussions still lie ahead...

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Article
2 November 2016

Access to remedy focus of last day of UN Intergovt. working group meeting on proposed binding treaty

Author: Elise Golay, RIDH on Treaty Movement

"Diplomacy Wins on the Last Day of the IGWG in Geneva", 1 Nov 2016

The last day of the second session of the IGWG on Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises started with a final panel on access to remedy, and then moved into the process of adopting the report of the session in the afternoon.  While often just a mere formality in such UN proceedings, the exchanges among states concerning the adoption of the draft meeting report was in a temporary state of high diplomatic tension...The nature of the discussion reflects the urgency with which South Africa wants the treaty process to proceed, and on the other side some reticence from states in support of the UNGPs implementation...Earlier in the day access to remedy was the main theme of the discussions...[A]dditional themes to the discussion includ[ed] the difficulties of establishing judicial remedies without separation of powers at the national level, and a prevailing lack of trust in national level courts...Civil society organisations mentioned several issues that are key to them, including abolishing the corporate veil...[and] recognis[ing] transnational corporations as one corporate group...

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Article
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Author: Ram Etwareea, Le Temps (Suisse)

« Une convention vise à responsabiliser les multinationales », 30 octobre 2016

De l’explosion de l’usine agrochimique à Bhopal, en Inde, à la pollution pétrolière de l’Amazonie, en passant par l’exploitation des enfants dans les plantations de cacao en Côte d’Ivoire, de nombreux cas mettent en évidence les conséquences dramatiques des activités de certaines multinationales. Pourtant, ces dernières échappent souvent à la justice en raison de manque d’instruments de droit international, mais aussi à cause du manque de volonté politique ou de la complicité même de certains Etats.

Le Conseil des droits de l’homme a décidé de combler ce vide juridique par une convention internationale. Objectif: mettre fin à l’impunité en cas de violation des droits humains et des normes sociales et environnementales. Les travaux préparatoires ont eu lieu la semaine passée à Genève. Un projet de convention pourrait être prêt l’an prochain…

…[Les grandes entreprises] ne nient pas le problème, mais affirment qu’elles se sont dotées de codes de bonne conduite qu’elles s’efforcent à respecter. Les multinationales se réfèrent aussi à Global Compact, une initiative de l’ONU lancée en 2000, qui incite les entreprises à respecter les droits de l’homme, les normes environnementales...L’adhésion à Global Compact est toutefois volontaire et l’application des règles est non contraignante…

[Fait référence à Glencore]

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Article
1 November 2016

Testimonies from victims of corporate abuse at UN Intergovt. meeting highlight need for binding rules in business & human rights treaty

Author: Friends of the Earth International

"People power paves the way for a truly people-centred Treaty", 29 Oct 2016

People power was at the forefront of talks on a treaty for transnational corporations and human rights this week in Geneva.  The creation of a set of international binding rules that would have profound implications for the world’s largest companies was a step closer by Friday.  Such a treaty would oblige companies to respect human rights in a way they have never had to before.  The need for this treaty was highlighted powerfully throughout the week by testimonies from communities suffering punitive corporate abuse worldwide...The groundswell in participation in the movement for a binding treaty was evident in the presence of more than 100 activists from 29 countries alongside an increased number of states participating with civil society organisations, lawyers and others...The treaty will need effective rules and mechanisms to constrain and control big business, to deter and punish them for their human rights abuses...Now we need to nurture the treaty, grow the movement, give voice to more communities on the frontline in the fight against punitive corporate abuses.  Greater participation is needed from governments in the UN, especially countries from Africa, Asia, and Latin America and the Caribbean...

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Author: Emilie Massemin, Reporterre (France)

« La lente marche vers un traité contre les crimes des multinationales », 28 octobre 2016

Réuni à Genève, un groupe intergouvernemental prépare un traité contraignant pour les multinationales. Une démarche nécessaire, tant les textes existants échouent à protéger les victimes de catastrophes comme celles de Bhopal ou du Rana Plaza. Mais les pays du Nord, où siègent 85 % des multinationales, bloquent le processus...

...Les Etats-Unis, l’Australie et le Canada refusent de participer aux travaux de groupe. La Russie est présente mais elle a annoncé qu’elle ne souhaitait pas de traité. Sensible aux pressions de la société civile, l’Union européenne est représentée à la session actuelle mais a choisi de ne pas s’exprimer...

...L’issue est incertaine : comme tout traité onusien, le texte devra être signé et ratifié à l’unanimité...

[Fait référence à Texaco (filiale de Chevron), Doe Run]

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Article
31 October 2016

Scope of proposed binding treaty discussed on 4th day of UN Intergovt. meeting

Author: Elise Golay, RIDH

"Discussions on scope of the treaty on day four of the intergovernmental working group session in Geneva", 28 Oct 2016

Two meetings were held on the fourth and penultimate day of this second session of the IGWG on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (TNCs-OBEs), the first one on defining the scope of the future Treaty, and the second one on prevention, remedy, accountability and access to justice.  During the first half of the day, the Working Group discussed the scope of the future Treaty in relation, firstly, to the types of corporate actors who will be subject to the new Treaty, and secondly, to the scope of the rights that need to be included in the legally binding instrument...The debate on whether or not the Treaty should apply to TNCs or to all business enterprises had echoes of the discussion on this issue from last year...There was a plurality of views from civil society on this issue also.  CETIM and ESCR-Net both agreed that the priority for the treaty should be governance over transnational corporations...The afternoon meeting focused on ways forward to implement the UN Guiding Principles (UNGPs) and their relation to the elaboration of the binding instruments...

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Article
31 October 2016

Summary of 3rd & 4th day UN Intergovt. working group meeting on proposed binding treaty

Author: European Coalition for Corporate Justice

"UN Treaty Talks Day 3 and 4: From business as usual to enhanced corporate responsibility for human rights", 28 Oct 2016

Off to a busy start, discussions on developing internationally binding regulation in the field of business and human rights, also known as the UN Treaty, intensified during days three and four. Wednesday and Thursday focused on obligations and responsibilities for businesses and, respectively, approaches and criteria for the future definition of the Treaty’s scope – a compromise item introduced after a major divide arose between EU and other States during 2015’s negotiations, due to EU’s request for an enlarged scope...The debate on day three looked at different avenues to apply legal obligations directly on corporations, going into in-depth judicial detail regarding liability mechanisms...The fourth day of discussions brought more engagement from EU and Member States, as well as quality interventions on the Treaty’s content and on possible solutions to access to remedy issues. But although high-level content discussions are progressing in Geneva, much more is needed for the Treaty to make the shift from collection of ideas to internationally binding regulation on business and human rights...

 

 

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Article
28 October 2016

Interview with Elisabet Pèriz, Tierra Digna, at the IGWG

Author: CIDSE

Article
28 October 2016

Interview with Julia Fernandes. Movement of People Affected by dams, Brazil, at the IGWG

Author: CIDSE

Article
28 October 2016

Interview with Walter Vargas, APRODEH, Peru, at the IGWG

Author: CIDSE