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15 Sep 2016

Jens Martens & Karolin Seitz, Global Policy Forum

Exploring the process for a business & human rights treaty

"The Struggle for a UN Treaty - Towards global regulation on human rights and business", Sep 2016

…[T]he United Nations Human Rights Council’s decision on 26 June 2014…adopt[ed] a resolution, which was initiated by Ecuador and South Africa, to establish an intergovernmental working group “to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises”…Until that point, at least at an international level, politics and businesses had relied mainly on voluntary initiatives…[H]owever, more and more governments and researchers concluded that they were only limitedly effective and therefore should be complemented by a legally binding international instrument…There is already a set of proposals for such an agreement, which can be grouped as follows:

  1. Definition of responsibilities and liability for human rights abuses
  2. Due diligence commitments, including human rights risk and impact assessments
  3. Monitoring and enforcement mechanisms
  4. Enhanced intergovernmental cooperation to investigate, sentence and enforce judgements
  5. Establishment of extraterritorial obligations for states to protect human rights
  6. Clarification of the relation between the treaty and bi- and multilateral trade and investment agreements…