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6 Aug 2019

Nicolás Carrillo Santarelli, La Sabana University, on Business and Human Rights Journal

A step in the right direction: corporate responsibility under the 2019 revised draft. Part II: the recongnition of corporate violations and its implications

I turn now to address the question of whether the reference to both corporate abuses and violations in the draft is an improvement over prior initiatives on non-state actors and human rights...

...[U]nlike the ‘zero’ draft, which expressly said that corporations ‘shall respect all human rights’ (a very strong indication given the verb that was chosen, but still a confusing one considering that no direct obligations were enshrined in it), the 2019 version says instead, in a somewhat analogous way in the Preamble, that all businesses ‘have the responsibility to respect all human rights’ (emphasis added). As Bernaz also pointed out, this may seem to tie the draft to the Guiding Principles –perhaps in the sense of recognizing that such respect they must have has already been enshrined therein. But, perhaps, the idea of ‘recognition’ implicit in the wording of businesses as ‘having’ responsibility ought to be interpreted as going beyond the Guiding Principles...

one can interpret that the treaty acknowledges that corporations may have even direct human rights obligations and responsibility recognized outside of it, in an express or implied manner, as has been argued by Jordan J. Paust or was even mentioned by an ICSID Tribunal in the Urbaser case. Thus, the treaty strategies would be complementary to those of other sources of international and domestic law.

Part of the following timelines

Expert commentaries on Jul 2019 Revised Draft of proposed treaty on business & human rights

Business and Human Rights Journal symposium on revised binding treaty on business & human rights