Historic Discussions Starting at the UN on a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights

Monday 6th of July marks the opening of the first session of the UN Inter-governmental Working Group (IGWG) in charge of elaborating an international instrument on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. This session, which will focus on determining the "content, scope, nature and form of the future international instrument” as per HRC resolution 26/9, presents a unique opportunity towards the prevention and remediation of corporate-related human rights violations. The IGWG’s first session programme of work, list of panellists, written contributions and parallel events are avaible on the OHCHR website.

In preparation of the IGWG’s first session, FIDH presented a written submission highlighting recommendations in relation to both the treaty-development process and the substance of the instrument.

Its main recommendations relate to:

On process:

  • Ensuring rights-holders participation and a gender-sensitive approach
  • A transparent and good-faith process

On substance:

  • Scope of the instrument
  • Inclusion of all business enterprises
  • Prevention
  • Remediation

Over 1000 civil society organizations, social movements and individuals have already signed the Treaty Alliance’s Second Statement, issued on June 1st 2015 and reiterating the call for the enhancement the international legal framework to protect human rights from corporate abuse.

FIDH, which has been calling for an reinforcement of legal standards at the international, regional and national levels and for the establishment of robust redress and enforcement mechanisms (see Position Paper of March 2014) for many years, sees this process as a unique opportunity to ensure protection of and remediation for groups and individuals affected by human rights violations by business enterprises. This process is seen as complementary to and mutually-reinforcing with efforts to strengthen national legal frameworks and to ensure States comply with their extraterritorial obligations.

FIDH will actively engage in the IGWG process, as with other corporate accountability processes at the national, regional and international level. In addition, FIDH will continue its joint Treaty Initiative project together with ESCR-Net, aiming at developing concrete content proposals towards an international treaty.

Read FIDH’s written submission to the IGWG:

FIDH Submission to IGWG Treaty Business and Human Rights

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