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EU endows rights to firms in trade agreements, while obstructing business & human rights treaty, says campaigner
Author: Anne van Schaik, Friends of the Earth Europe, on New Europe (EU), Published on: 9 February 2016
“The real agenda of the Dutch presidency”, 10 Feb 2016
…On 26 June 2014 the UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) adopted a resolution calling for an intergovernmental working group to establish binding rules for businesses in relation to human rights. This historic decision means that international human rights law will for the first time apply to the activities of transnational corporations. One would expect the European Union, or the Dutch government, to be in the driving seat of this initiative. However, the EU permanent mission in Geneva, along with EU member states, have tried to frustrate and derail the progress of this working group. They voted against it and boycotted most recent UN meetings to prepare the Treaty. Yet there is no hesitation from the EU when it comes to securing privileged treatment for corporations around the globe through investment treaties and trade deals…If the EU and the Dutch are serious about their commitment to human rights, it is time for a paradigm shift. Instead of defending the interest of corporations, they should prioritise rights for citizens and communities. Such a new approach would start with supporting the negotiations in Geneva for a binding treaty on businesses in relation to human rights.