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22 Sep 2020

Antoinette Sprenger, IUCN Netherlands

Commentary: Second Revised Draft offers hope for a UN binding treaty on business and human rights

"Revised draft offers hope for UN binding treaty on business and human rights", 22 september 2020.

Every week, four people are killed because they stand up for nature. An even higher number faces threats, intimidation and physical violence on a daily basis. ‘Victims often face many barriers to justice,’ says Antoinette Sprenger, Senior Expert Environmental Justice at IUCN NL. ‘The UN binding treaty will ensure that companies can be held accountable when they cause human rights abuses and that victims have access to remedy. This will strengthen the position of environmental human rights defenders across the globe and hopefully have a limiting effect on the number of abuses.’

According to Sprenger, the newest draft of the UN treaty on business and human rights is a clear improvement over the previous draft. ‘It addresses various objections governments, key businesses and also victims of corporate human rights violations had, but not all of them have been taken away.’...

‘All in all this is a serious draft which deserves the attention and engagement of the EU in the next negotiations in Geneva,’ Sprenger says. ‘This draft is ripe for serious and good faith negotiation. It is therefore time for the EU to step up to the plate and join the negotiations in Geneva.’...‘Although it is unlikely that the treaty will be adopted in October, the 2020 session will be an opportunity to continue the progress of the latest draft toward a treaty which helps to prevent human rights abuses and affords victims real access to justice,’ Sprenger says.