Informal consultation WG Binding treaty 11th of July 2018
Statement of the Global Campaign
Thank you Mr. Ambassador,
I speak on behalf of CETIM and the Global Campaign to dismantle corporate power, a global network representing millions of people from social movements, trade unions, peasant organizations, affected communities and many other sectors from all over the world. We would like to bring our input to this discussion and our assessment on the guiding questions to the present informal consultation.
Let me begin with one comment on last week’s resolution on non-judicial mechanisms, presented by Norway and adopted by consensus by the Human Rights Council, and presented as a way to ensure access to remedy for victims. This resolution gives inordinate importance to non-judicial mechanisms which by definition are limited. Everybody knows and hundreds of cases all over the world shows that non-judicial mechanisms are in many cases useless and ineffective to repair human rights violations committed by TNCs and do not contribute to effective access to justice for the victims. Only judicial and binding mechanisms will ensure that.
About the issue of access to justice, the victim-oriented approach of this process shall not be questioned. Along with the need to close all the windows in international legislation that provide impunity to transnational corporations when they violate human rights, access to justice is indeed the core of this instrument. First of all, the future treaty shall contain a specific section for victims, with a broad definition of the concept of affected people and communities and with a list of ways to repair human rights violations and ensure effective access to justice. There are some already existing principles set up by international law that are of upmost importance here: the right to information, the right to reparation, the right to guarantees of non-repetition etc. It is to be noticed that some particular issues are extremely important for TNCs’ victims in their search of justice during legal procedures. In our Treaty we propose that victims shall have the right to effective legal protection and assistance, to be exempt of all court costs, to initiate class actions and to have prompt, prioritized and simplified processes. Without the latter, access to justice for the victims is in most of the cases financially impossible. States should also consider the need of an international tribunal that affected people in multiple countries can turn to if their national courts fail to provide timely access to justice or when the corporate veil and alleged complex transnational arrangement of supply chains allow them to evade national jurisdictions.
On the issue of international cooperation, for us it is key that the future treaty encompasses a specific section. In our Treaty proposal, we have some concrete suggestions on what should be covered under this section. First of all, the need for States parties to provide each other mutual technical and legal cooperation and assistance for the investigations and the proceedings for the matters that fall under the scope of the Treaty. The Parties shall exchange information regarding cases of violations as defined in the future Treaty, and towards this end they shall adopt legislative or other necessary measures to allow information to be used in proceedings related to the human rights violations. The Parties shall also consider bilateral and multilateral agreements for direct cooperation between their law enforcement agencies and, where such agreements already exist, amend them.
Finally, we invite you to go through all our proposals by consulting our Treaty project, which is the fruit of a major collaborative undertaking built on a broad consultative process among affected communities, social movements and civil society organizations. This is a document with useful information and proposals addressing the many challenges related to the subject of this process.
The Global Campaign’s Treaty proposal