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24 Okt 2022

Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights

Time for a Treaty - Will Ireland support UN Binding Treaty to tackle corporate impunity?

Snapshot summary...

- Powerful companies, exploited communities: Exploitation and abuse of communities by corporate actors remains unaddressed, as well as destruction of the environment, and EU and Irish companies are connected. Women, human rights defenders, and indigenous communities are particularly affected. Access to remedy is incredibly challenging for affected communities.

- Calls of the Global South are being ignored: widespread support across countries from the global south for a Treaty yet many of the countries and regions where large transnational corporations are headquartered have opposed the Treaty process and refused to engage in the negotiations.

- EU yet to be constructive on the Treaty: the 3rd draft of the Treaty published in 2021 is ready for negotiation, yet the EU has yet again failed to secure a mandate to negotiate at this year’s session.

- Global problems require global solutions : the EU’s forthcoming Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDD) shows that the EU is moving from voluntary guidelines to mandatory rules for companies, yet a regional EU solution will only go so far. Supporting a UN Treaty would be complementary to the EU’s CSDD Directive.

- Ireland must play a role : Ireland should push the EU to develop a mandate to participate in the negotiations. Ireland can also develop a clear supportive public position on the Treaty, and constructively engage in the negotiations in the absence of an EU position. Ireland also needs to champion the Treaty being gender-transformative.


The Irish Coalition for Business and Human Rights recommends that the Irish Government:

  • Actively support and contribute to the development of an ambitious, effective and binding UN Treaty on business and human rights, to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises, with a strong gender perspective and provisions to empower human rights defenders;
  • Develop and share a clear, constructive public position in support of the UN Treaty;
  • Follow the lead of other EU Member States, such as France, and directly address the annual negotiations session on priority areas (in the absence of an EU negotiation mandate);
  • Take action within the EU to ensure a constructive EU negotiation mandate for the next OEIGWG session.
  • In tandem with the Treaty negotiation process, develop domestic legislation for mandatory, gender-responsive human rights and environmental due diligence legislation in Ireland, and also push to strengthen the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence (CSDD) Directive in line with recommendations from the ICBHR.