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7 Sep 2020

Carlos Lopez, Opinio Juris

The 2nd Revised Draft of a Treaty on Business and Human Rights–Moving (Slowly) in the Right Direction

"Symposium: The 2nd Revised Draft of a Treaty on Business and Human Rights–Moving (Slowly) in the Right Direction", 7 September 2020.

A second revised Draft of an international treaty on business and human rights has been released...In the few weeks of its release, the immediate reactions from scholars and advocates that follow the process has been generally positive and welcoming, although there remain flaws and a number of issues to be resolved...

The lack of political will among key countries, including the European Union and other states in the Western Group is still a major obstacle to progress in this area...However, from a human rights perspective the most critical thing is whether the text of the treaty is fulfilling the main purpose of the new instrument, which us to fill major gaps in ensuring prevention or business human rights abuse and access to justice and reparation for the victims of abuse. And the answer to that question is clearly positive: overall, the draft treaty is going in the right direction.

The Revised draft 2020 presents important improvements that add clarity to the text and more cohesion to the whole...

There are also some changes and additions that deserve a more nuanced assessment and some areas that remain to be fixed from the previous drafts.

Among those changes likely to raise further controversy are those relating to current article 8 on legal liability. Legal accountability together with provisions on the right to a remedy and reparation constitute the core of the proposed treaty and its distinct contribution to the international legal framework...