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25 Okt 2021

Ben Grama, Tilburg University, Antoine Duval, T.M.C. Asser Instituut, Annika van Baar, VU University Amsterdam & Lucas Roorda, Utrecht University, published by the Asser Institute Centre for International & European Law

Third Revised Draft Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Comments and Recommendations

The 3rd revised draft of the legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises, was published in August, by the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG), established in 2014 by the UN Human Rights Council, under Resolution 26/9, for the elaboration of the treaty. The text is based on a series of consultations and inter-State negotiations that have taken place since 2014. This policy brief is written as an external contribution to the new round of negotiations over the text taking place in the Human Rights Council in Geneva, from 25 to 29 October 2021. It is in part informed by an expert exchange between academics and civil society organisations held on 7 October at the Asser Institute in The Hague.

The current brief is not an exhaustive response to the various revisions made in the third draft but focuses on three questions at the heart of treaty: prevention and due diligence; liability and regulation; and access to remedy. While numerous political controversies surround the treaty, our focus is on analysing its utility, were it adopted, in responding to corporate human rights abuses. As we believe that the main parameters of the treaty are relatively settled, our feedback focuses on suggestions consistent with the current paradigm. The first section of the brief focuses on the areas of incoherence within the third revised draft. The second section proposes recommendations going forward.