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26 Oct 2016

Dr. Ariel Meyerstein, United States Council for International Business / ICC-USA on behalf of the International Chamber of Commerce

Investor-state dispute settlement is a form of human rights protection, says Intl. Chamber of Commerce representative

"Panel 2, Subtheme 1 – Examples of national legislation and international instruments with obligations of States applicable to TNCs and other business enterprises and human rights", 25 Oct 2016

...[T]here is a vast international human rights regime covering state obligations to protect, respect and fulfil the rights of their citizens, including by protecting them from the adverse impacts of third-parties, such as businesses...There are, however, significant limitations to this international legal architecture, as is well-known, but worth reflecting on as we look to consider the viability of another international binding instrument...if a binding instrument on business and human rights seeks to expand jurisdiction of or to create new international mechanisms or expand civil liability for harms, it should be kept in mind that in order to be effective, these measures must be implemented by States...In addition, numerous countries have national laws in place that create either or both criminal and in some cases civil accountability for not only natural persons but also many cases accountability for legal persons for violations of jus cogens norms such as genocide, crimes against humanity, war crimes...Finally, it bears correcting the record from yesterday regarding investor-state dispute resolution, which, it is often forgot, is a direct descendant, and in many instances, also act as a form of human rights protection...While arbitration is not perfect, the system, on the whole, is working and there is a robust debate about ways to tweak it and make it work even better...