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21 Sep 2017

HOMA - Human Rights and Business Centre

Direct obligation of transnatl. corporations & accountability of multi-stakeholder companies should be included in scope of proposed binding treaty, says HOMA

"New elements for the UN Business and Human Rights Treaty", 5 Jul 2017

...[I]t is important to demarcate, as a starting point, the relationship between a possible binding instrument on business and human rights, and any other existing international norms on the subject, especially John Ruggie's Guiding Principles (2011). These principles, because of their voluntarist nature, are insufficient to generate effective accountability of transnational corporations for human rights violations. It is understood, then, that the Guiding Principles played an important role as the precursor of the discussions on the subject and led to the elaboration of a binding treaty that will have exactly the function of complementing the existing gaps in the legislation...

Another essential point advocated by HOMA, with respect to the scope of the proposed Treaty, refers to the limitation of international accountability only to transnational corporations. Extending the scope of the instrument to all types of business enterprises would be a deviation from the main purpose of the Treaty, namely the fulfillment of the regulatory gap regarding the operation of transnational corporations. After all, other companies already have the regulation of the national laws in the territories they are established.

Unlike domestic companies, the architecture of impunity makes it possible that transnational corporations avoid being held accountable for human rights violations, since they have complex contractual and business structures...