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Are the EU going to miss the boat on the UN Binding Treaty?

Author: CIDSE, Published on: 18 October 2019

…  while progress was made [for the Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights], the pace remains too slow in light of the transformative Treaty that is needed to address the adverse impact of transnational corporations on communities throughout the world…

 The EU announced from the beginning of the session that it would not engage in the negotiations in the absence of a mandate from Member States. The EU did highlight that the new draft is a considerable improvement, but said they would limit their interventions only to asking clarifying questions. Fortunately, EU Member States Spain, France and Belgium took up their responsibility to intervene individually, contributing on the important topics of human rights defenders and gender, human rights due diligence and corporate liability…

 The EU’s limited participation in the Geneva negotiations is difficult to comprehend.  China, Russia and other states are actively intervening to shape the Treaty…

Among the key issues for CIDSE are those relating to prevention, legal liability, protection of human rights and environmental defenders, gender sensitive human rights and environmental due diligence, Free, Prior and Informed Consent, choice of jurisdiction for people affected; and a clear provision establishing the primacy of human rights over the rights granted to corporations in trade and investment agreements…

The final informal session reflected the lack of will of some states to have transparent and inclusive negotiations. Thankfully, the consensus eventually reached protected the space for civil society to contribute while maintaining the principle responsibility of states to carry the process forward.



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