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1 Nov 2021

European Network of National Human Rights institutions

Commentary from the ENNHRI to the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights

ENNHRI welcomes the recognition, in the third revised draft, of the contribution as well as the complementary role of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…

…[It] should go beyond the UNGP where necessary to fill gaps…particularly… on access to remedy…

Despite remaining shortcomings, the third revised draft is a good basis for further intergovernmental negotiations…

In light of the multiplication of domestic legislation on human rights due diligence as well as the promise of a mandatory human rights European Union legislation, the process to negotiate a legally binding instrument provides a unique opportunity to ensure harmony among obligations in that field and to create a global level playing field able to harness globalization.

…A more substantive involvement of the European Union would involve decisive countries of origin of large transnational companies, enhance the tractive power of the process and help bring the negotiations to the next step.

ENNHRI recommends that:

  • The EU and its Member States agree on a joint approach and participate in the drafting of a treaty on Business and Human Rights, in accordance with the division of competences between the EU and its Member States;
  • The EU and its Member States agree, as soon as possible, on a formal negotiating mandate for the European Commission to help shape the negotiation process;
  • The EU and its Member States put their extensive political and diplomatic competencies to use and actively participate in the drafting process during the next sessions of the Open-ended intergovernmental working group, as well as in the intersessional work, by volunteering to be part of the group of “Friends of the Chair”.