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Call for legally binding international instrument on human rights & business - open to signatures

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8 July 2014

Commentary by John Ruggie: “A Moment of Truth for UN Business and Human Rights Treaty”

"The Past as Prologue? A Moment of Truth for UN Business and Human Rights Treaty", 8 Jul 2014

Calls to regulate transnational corporations (TNCs) through an international treaty instrument go back to the 1970s... In a sharply divided vote, the Council adopted the proposal [to establish an intergovernmental working group to negotiate a treaty] on June 26, 2014...Going forward, the answer hinges on whether the initiative’s supporters are more interested in making a difference than in making a point, and whether its opponents can accept that some form of further international legalization in business and human rights is both necessary and desirable. I elaborate on these scenarios below...However this plays out, governments, businesses, and NGOs need to redouble (or in many cases, begin) efforts to implement and further develop the Guiding Principles, including through National Action Plans that set out clear expectations for governments and all types of business enterprises. No future treaty, real or imagined, can substitute for the need to achieve further progress in the here and now. Indeed, the more that is accomplished by building on this widely supported foundation, the less politicized and polarized the debate about international legalization will become. Principled pragmatism may yet continue to prevail. 

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Author: ESCR-Net, Food First Information and Action Network, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Commission of Jurists

Esta declaración conjunta...fue elaborada por los participantes en el primer Foro anual de los Pueblos sobre los Derechos Humanos y las Empresas...del 5 al 7 de noviembre en Bangkok, Tailandia...Hacen un llamado a los Estados para la elaboración de un tratado internacional que: Afirme la aplicabilidad de las obligaciones de derechos humanos a las operaciones de empresas transnacionales y otras empresas comerciales, Obligue a los Estados Parte a vigilar y regular las operaciones de empresas y negocios bajo su jurisdicción, inclusive cuando éstas actúen fuera del territorio nacional, con el fin de prevenir las violaciones de los derechos humanos..., Obligue a los Estados Parte a establecer responsabilidad legal de las empresas por sus acciones u omisiones cuando estas vulneren derechos humanos, Obligue a los Estados Partes a proporcionar acceso a un recurso efectivo por parte de cualquier Estado concernido...Establezca un mecanismo internacional de vigilancia y rendición de cuentas, Proveer protección para las víctimas, informantes y defensores y defensoras de derechos humanos...

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1 November 2013

[PDF] Call for an international legally binding instrument on human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Author: ESCR-Net, Food First Information and Action Network, International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH), International Commission of Jurists

This joint statement…was drafted by participants in the first annual Peoples' Forum on Human Rights and Business…We welcome organizations to join as signatories…[We] call upon…States to elaborate an international treaty that…affirms the applicability of human rights obligations to…transnational corporations and other business enterprises;…requires States Parties to monitor and regulate the operations of business enterprises under their jurisdiction, including when acting outside their national territory…[and] provide for legal liability for business enterprises for acts or omissions that infringe human rights...

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