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12 Nov 2015

Bellinda Chinowawa, University of Oxford, on Oxford Human Rights Hub (UK)

Business & human rights should be addressed at local level rather than in UN bodies, says lawyer

“Rerouting From the Treaty Road Most Travelled”, 9 Nov 2015

…The latest salvo in the attempt to foster corporate accountability is the proposal for a binding treaty on business and human rights...[S]ome restraint on the call for such a treaty is warranted…[T]reaties do not result in necessarily better behaviour by those they are meant to regulate...If faithfully executed, the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights would address the problem of corporate impunity.  It could be further be argued that states which have taken steps to comply with the Guiding Principles have already signalled their commitment to reigning in errant corporations, and do not require a binding treaty.  Those states that have not taken such steps, do not intend to abide by any international standards, and are unlikely to abide by a treaty anyway, leaving victims in the same situation…Real accountability should be fostered at local level…With the passage of a treaty, it will become easier for governments and corporations alike to abdicate their obligations and responsibilities to a ubiquitous international body…It is time to think outside the box and consider how to foster local level interventions, and tread away from the hackneyed treaty route.