EU creating rights for businesses in trade deals but doesn’t support victims’ rights in treaty process, says NGO

Author: Friends of the Earth (Europe), Published on: 2 December 2015

“Rights For Business, Not For People: The EU’s Agenda”, 1 Nov 2015

Transnational corporations enjoy enormous power.  Their resources dwarf those of many nation states but their power is not always exercised with care as numerous examples of corporate human rights violations and environmental damage show.  Despite these crimes, it has been almost impossible to prosecute transnational corporations internationally…The European Commission and EU member states proudly claim to actively promote and defend human rights…[but] have tried to frustrate and derail the progress of this working group…Yet there is no hesitation from the EU when it comes to securing privileged treatment for corporations…through investment treaties…This paper outlines how the European Commission and EU member states are aggressively pushing rights for businesses, but refusing to engage in constructive talks at the UN level on establishing rights for people affected by the activities of those companies…While rights for investors are guaranteed and enforceable in law, with special protection through the exclusive ISDS mechanism, citizens and affected communities are only protected by voluntary guidelines and have to depend on non-functioning grievance mechanisms that lack any effective sanctions and enforcement…

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