Call to Action
2017 WILL BE A DECISIVE YEAR FOR THE BINDING TREATY ON TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS!
In October 2017, in Geneva, the Intergovernmental Working Group mandated to develop a binding UN Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights and other Business Enterprises will hold its third session.
Social organisations and movements, communities affected by the operations of transnational corporations and others fighting for social and environmental justice around the world will march to Geneva in October 2017 (23rd to 26th) in what will be the third week of mobilization for the establishment of a treaty that imposes on states and corporations international obligations to guarantee the access of the affected communities, groups and individuals whose human rights have been violated by transnational corporations to justice.
Transnational corporations and their associations have captured the support of many governments by making donations to election campaigns, using legal and often illegal means such as different forms of corruption and favours, or by blackmailing them with promises to make (or withdraw) investments. While this group promotes corporate social responsibility measures or national action plans inspired by Ruggie’s Guiding Principles to make it appear as if they are concerned with systematic human rights violations perpetrated in countries in the North, but primarily in the Global South, a group of states that have the support of social organisations, networks and movements from all over the world are working to build a treaty that puts an end to the impunity of transnational corporations.
A binding treaty at the United Nations is one of the small stumbling blocks we, the people, can create to stop the impunity of transnational corporations. The savage deregulation that neoliberal globalisation has imposed on the world over the past 30 years has left people and communities without protection and reduced their most fundamental rights – to next to nothing in many places. At the same time, a powerful architecture of impunity to shield investors’ operations (free trade agreements, investment protection treaties and investor-state dispute settlement mechanisms, among others) was put into place.
The treaty will: create an opening for the defence of the rights of workers in the “global supply chains” or the enormous flows of those who constitute the most vulnerable link in the global workforce – migrants and refugees; guarantee the human right to medicines and health that patents and the privatisation of social protection systems are undermining; establish efficient mechanisms for protecting the lives of social activists threatened by the corporations’ gunmen and ensuring access to justice and protection for those who have already been their victims; serve as a path that contributes to the defence of the living conditions and the rights of rural, indigenous and peasant communities, the environment and even the climate, and sanction corporations and states that do not respect them.
The enforcement of human rights can level out the playing field in the area of international trade and investment by ensuring that no international agreement threatens the full realization of human rights. For this reason, and given the importance of national states in protecting human rights, we are fighting so that a treaty like this one can contest the perverse mechanisms of global capitalism, such as tax havens, double taxation agreements, tax evasion, concentration, financial deregulation and debts – especially the illegitimate ones! – that have depleted national finances and prevent states from fulfilling their obligation to protect people’s rights. Guarantees for the right to sexual identity and gender equality against the discrimination and violence perpetuated within the networks formed by transnational corporations may also be won when the negotiations on this treaty begin.
BE THERE TO RECLAIM PEOPLES’ RIGHTS OVER INVESTORS’ RIGHTS AND CORPORATE PROFITS AND AN END TO CORPORATE IMPUNITY
JOIN US IN GENEVA FROM OCTOBER 23RD TO 27TH, 2017 IN A BIG PEOPLES’ MOBILISATION!
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