Business, Human Rights & Environment

The world’s inequalities are constantly growing : millions of people continue to suffer from forced evictions, inadequate access to education and basic health treatment and appalling working conditions. Economic actors, especially multinational corporations, have acquired increased power in the past decades. Liberalisation of trade and investment flows, protection granted to foreign investors, the high degree of dependency between the world’s economies but also foreign debt and policies of international financial institutions have restrained the ability of States to uphold their human rights obligations. Human rights defenders and those participating in protests denouncing corporate abuse are being increasingly targeted. Communities struggle to obtain justice for violations of economic, social and cultural rights , even more so when involving multinational companies that operate across national borders.

FIDH advocates for the full recognition and justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights, and campaigns for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Together with its member organisations, FIDH works with communities throughout the world to ensure corporate accountability and improve victims’ access to justice through documentation, advocacy and litigation. FIDH calls on States to take their human rights obligations into account when they negotiate trade and investment agreements with third countries and promotes respect for human rights and the environment in investment.

There are several gaps in the international human rights framework to prevent, sanction and remedy abuses caused by the activities of business enterprises. Access to justice remains particularly difficult for the majority of victims. That’s why FIDH is engaged in the United Nation process for the elaboration of an international legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of corporations in relation to human rights (see Treaty process)

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