Why is the Global Campaign mobilized towards a UN Binding Treaty for Transnational Corporations on Human Rights?
The need to confront the Architecture of Impunity
Between transnational corporations, states and peoples, there is an undeniable asymmetry:
• On one hand: with the complicity of states that are in that are interested in guaranteeing that they are “attracting investment”, transnational corporations have been covering themselves with a solid armour made up of free trade and investment protection agreements and their respective sanctioning mechanisms. Institutions such as the International Centre for Settlement of Investment Disputes (ICSID) constitute clear examples of the privatisation of justice, as well as any ISDS mechanism.
• On the other hand, violations of human rights and the rights of peoples and nature have become inherent to transnational corporations operations, as well as systematic. But at the international level there is no binding rule for corporations on Human Rights.
In June 2014, the Human Rights Council finally adopted the resolution 26/9 on the elaboration of an International legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.
This was a historic achievement after decades of discussions and failed attempts within the United Nations. Such a legally binding Instrument is essential for two dimensions of the Global Campaign’s work: to end corporate impunity, and address the systemic power of transnational corporations which has reached unprecedented impacts on the daily lives of affected communities.
In 2015 the Global Campaign was present during the First Meeting of the OEIGWG. Our members prepared several activities in order to pressure governments to keep the process of building a Transnational Corporations Treaty moving forward. We submitted the “8 points: Written Contribution of the Global Campaign to the first session of the IGWG”
In 2016, the Global Campaign again participated actively in the debate at the Second Session of the OEIGWG and facilitated the participation of more than 100 activists, representing unions, peasant organizations, environmental organisations, youth, women, indigenous peoples, migrants and the access to medicines movements. They convened in Geneva to participate in and observe the proceedings within the UN. These activists represented 29 countries and shared their lived experiences in 15 activities both within and outside the formal spaces of the UN. Participants made 40 oral statements in the six panels of the session. We presented 6 concrete proposals for the binding instrument: on the obligations for TNCs, extraterritorial obligations; the instrument of enforcement, the responsibility of TNCs in the global supply chains; the architecture of the global corporate law (International Financial Institutions, the World Trade Organisation and the investment and trade regime); as well as the rights of the affected communities.
In 2017 we also convened to a Week of Peoples Mobilisation from 23rd to 27th October. More than 160 delegates from 80 countries representing social movements, trade unions, and global civil society, including communities affected by the human rights violations of transnational corporations were actively involved that week. We presented our Proposal of Binding Treaty as Global Campaign. Likewise, an advocacy strategy was deployed with the States present (through bilateral meetings, side events and interventions in plenary of representatives of affected communities,networks and movements of the South). Images of the Week can be seen at this link.
In 2018 the Global Campaign will continue to develop strategies and efforts in order to build a UN Binding Treaty on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations that contributes to stop impunity. From 15th to 19th October we will convene to a Week of Peoples Mobilisation in Geneva. During the 37th Session of UNHRC (March 2018) we organised:
– Wednesday 7th March, 1.30 – 3 pm, Palais des Nations, Room XXIII, Geneva: Side Event at the 37th session of UN Human Rights Council on “Reflections towards the UN Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations with respect to Human Rights” (see the video here)
– Wednesday 7th March, 7.15 pm, Uni- Mail, University of Geneva, Room MR290, Boulevard Pont d’Arve, 40, Geneva): Public Conference on the Impact of Transnational Corporations, hosted by CUAE (Convened by: Conférence Universitaire des Associations d’EtudiantEs (CUAE), TTAC, CADTM, CETIM, CGAS, UNIA, Coordination Climat et Justice Sociale, BADIL, Groupe écosocialiste de solidaritéS, solidaritéS Jeunes et solidaritéS, Syndicat de Services Publics (SSP), Liste égalitté et équité, and the Global Campaign).
–Thursday 8th March, 12 pm, Place des Nations, Geneva: Public demonstration on corporate impunity and in solidarity with Women Struggles (Convened by: ATTAC, CADTM, CETIM, CGAS, Coordination Climat et Justice Sociale, BADIL, Groupe écosocialiste de solidaritéS, Liste égalité et équité, solidaritéS Jeunes et solidaritéS, and the Global Campaign).
Coming related events:
In October 2018, in Geneva, the Intergovernmental Working Group Mandated to develop a UN Treaty on Transnational Corporations & Human Rights and other Business Enterprises will hold its 4th Session.
Proposals of the Global Campaign for the Binding Treaty on transnational corporations and Human Rights:
Advanced edited report of the Third session (A/HRC/37/67)
Other related mobilisations of the Global Campaign:
For more details contact:
campaign @ stopcorporateimpunity.org / m.vargas @ tni.org
Melik Özden, Raffaele Morgantini (contact @ cetim.ch)
Brid Brennan (bridbrennan @ tni.org) / Gonzalo Berrón (gonzalo.berron @ tni.org)
Lucía Ortiz (lucia @ foei.org) / Alberto Villareal (comercioredes @ gmail.com)
Contact for the press: soltrumbovila @ tni.org
Also available in: Spanish