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9 Oct 2015

Olga Fernández Sixto, University of Essex (UK)

A business & human rights treaty will have to provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction & effective remedies, says paper

“Business and Human Rights: A study on the implications of the proposed binding treaty”, 1 Oct 2015

…If some form of treaty is to be adopted, which are the key issues the drafters will need to address under different treaty options?  Will the treaty just impose minimal reporting requirements on companies or will it provide for a special court where corporations may be criminally prosecuted for human rights abuses?  Which are its possibilities of being widely ratified?...For a successful development of the proposed treaty a certain degree of carefully built and weighed consensus is required on some key areas.  It will be difficult that States with many different needs and preferences could all agree to meaningful legal liability standards.  As a consequence, norms included in such treaty could end up imposing very low standards.  Hence, social pressure on business to perform at a higher level could become ineffective as corporations would be able to allege full compliance with the treaty…[T]he treaty will have to provide for extraterritorial jurisdiction and for effective remedies…[E]ffective access to remedies are the most important objective behind this treaty…[A] binding treaty is a reasonable aspiration and, if there is enough will among the international community members, a possible prospect…