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27 Okt 2022

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and Lawyers for Human Rights

Day 4: Thursday 27 October 2022

Today, States and Civil Society Organisations (CSOs) commented on numerous articles of the Third Revised Draft: Articles 4 (Rights of Victims), 5 (Protection of Victims) and 14 (Consistency with International Law principles and instruments), as well as Articles 15-24. Negotiations closed for the 8th session at the conclusion of the morning.

  • On Article 4 (Rights of Victims), several countries, including Ecuador and Kenya, as well as CSOs agreed with Palestine’s proposal to add victims of “human rights violations”, in addition to victims of “human rights abuses”, to ensure violations are also covered under Article 4.1. Some States and CSOs also welcomed the gender-sensitive approach in Article 4.2.c.
  • Article 5 (Protection of Victims) was seen as crucial for CSOs and some asked that specific wording about trade unionists be added under Article 5.2 given the growing threats and attacks they face. They also stated that the language about protection of human rights defenders should be strengthened.
  • On Article 14 (Consistency with International Law Principles and Instruments), the US, the only State to comment on this provision, stated that Article 14.5 would be challenging for states to implement, especially because not all states that are party to existing bilateral or multilateral agreements, including trade and investment agreements, will be party to the binding treaty.
  • A number of CSOs suggested adding a provision to Article 14.5 allowing States to review or denounce investment agreements incompatible with a legally binding instrument (LBI). Some CSOs highlighted that the LBI should have primacy over other agreements, including trade agreements, due to the increase in ISDS litigation limiting the ability of States to protect human rights.
  • CSOs reiterated that they believe the Third Draft should be the only basis of negotiation, and will not take into account suggested proposals for amendments to several articles by the Chair.
  • CSOs, including from the labour movement, stressed the importance of strengthening the function of the Committee established under Article 15 (Institutional Arrangements) to allow communications or complaints from affected individuals or their representatives. Some suggested that members of affected communities should be part of the Committee.
  • The Chair concluded the session by announcing that Cameroon will join the “Friends of the Chair” initiative. Cameroon will be the only African representation in the group.
  • The negotiations closed at the end of the morning and there was no afternoon session.
  • The meeting on Friday will be a private meeting.

The recording of the morning session is available on UN tv here, and here for the afternoon session.