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Commentary: Lack of agreed objective of proposed business & human rights treaty will undermine negotiations

"Towards an International Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights", 8 Dec 2016

...Since the unanimous endorsement of the Guiding Principles...numerous discussions have taken place exploring the advantages and drawbacks of an internationally binding legal instrument...Several issues should be considered in these discussions...The debate should first and foremost start with the identification of a clear purpose for such a treaty, be it protection from human rights abuses connected to business activity, increased due diligence by companies, or improved business behaviour.  This has been missing in the discussions so far, and the lack of an objective, which is agreeable to all concerned parties, may prove fatal later on during final treaty negotiations...A possible international treaty should be embedded in the current UN Guiding Principles.  Most human rights abuses relating to corporate conduct do not stem from a lack of international rules and obligations, but rather from a failure to implement existing ones...As the discussions on its scope, content and form continue, the focus for the moment should remain on the effective application of the current frameworks, especially through the correct mix of voluntary and regulatory measures...