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17 Feb 2016

Joe Zhang, IISD on bilaterals.org

Summary of key issues in binding treaty debate

“Negotiations kick off on a binding treaty on business and human rights”, 15 Feb 2016

The inaugural session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group for the Elaboration of an International Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (TNCOBEs) with respect to Human Rights (the Working Group) marks the beginning of a process to negotiate a binding treaty on business and human rights…[P]articipating states, international organizations, national human rights institutions, and a wide array of civil society organizations carried out constructive debates and identified a number of key issues essential to the contour of the potential instrument.  Why negotiate a binding treaty?...What is the relationship between “business and human rights” and “corporate social responsibilities?”…What enterprises should be covered?...Which rights should be covered?...The state’s duty to protect: How far does it reach?...Should TNCOBEs be directly liable under the proposed instrument?...What mechanisms are necessary for effective access to meaningful remedies?...At the end of the first session, the Working Group committed to engage in informal consultations with various stakeholders before its second session, to be held in 2016.