Dialogue with Business Leaders on Treaty on Human Rights and Business

Press release
en fa

Representatives of large European business enterprises met on the 30th May, with State delegates and representatives of human rights NGOs in Geneva to discuss their views on a prospective international treaty on business and human rights. The meeting organized by the FIDH and ICJ, took place under Chatham House rules.

The United Nations Human Rights Council started in 2014 an intergovernmental process towards an international treaty on the broad issue of business and human rights. The first draft elements of that treaty should be discussed in October 2017, after two years of preparatory consultations among the relevant stakeholders. The meeting in Geneva took place in the context of growing involvement by key business leaders in international discussions, in dialogue with civil society and governments, around global human rights standards.

Business representatives present in the meeting expressed their views regarding the content of a future international treaty founded on their need to have level playing field regarding human rights responsibilities to operate in global markets. They pointed out that the new treaty should apply to all businesses, go beyond the existing frameworks and create a framework for a fair human rights based competition among businesses towards higher standards.

State delegates and NGOs representatives also shared their perspectives noting that the current circumstances of growing business involvement in the commission of human rights abuses coupled with increasing shrinking space for civil society action to counter those abuses call for bolder collective action as a matter of urgency. Most participants underlined the key role that State agencies should play in enforcing the rules at the local level and in protecting their people. Finally, a call was made for businesses, civil society and governments to take their responsibility to promote global human rights binding rules for business operations, including in the global marketplace.

Read more