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20 Oct 2017

Business at OECD, Foreign Trade Association, International Chamber of Commerce & International Organisation of Employers

UN treaty process on business and human rights - Response of the international business community to the "elements" for a draft legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights

…[T]he international business community does not support the “elements" because they represent a big step backwards and they jeopardise the crucial consensus achieved by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), whose spirit and wording they undermine. We explain that the "elements" are counterproductive for the business and human rights agenda and that they are unclear…

  • We underscore our opposition to the proposal to impose direct international human rights obligations on transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises (OBEs), which takes the debate back to the politically-charged era of the UN Norms
  • We demonstrate that the "elements" are, in fact, focused on TNCs not OBEs, and that seeking to introduce supply chain legal liability on TNCs is a major breach of the UNGPs and risks dampening investment flows to industrialised, emerging and least developed economies.
  • We stress that the "elements" break the consensus achieved by the UNGPs and create unnecessary confusion by blurring and re-casting the respective duties and responsibilities of States and business enterprises under the UN three-pillar "Protect, Respect, Remedy" framework.
  • We examine the deep flaws in the various proposals on trade and investment, extraterritorial jurisdiction and the reversal of the burden of proof…