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Working up from Zero: Initial Negotiations on the “Zero Draft” treaty on Business and Human Rights

Author: Hogan Lovells on JD Supra, Published on: 31 October 2018

The UN intergovernmental working group tasked with developing a binding international treaty on business and human rights recently concluded its fourth round of negotiations in Geneva (15-19 October 2018).

In contrast to the third session,...delegations were provided with the “Zero Draft” treaty in July 2018..., giving them ample opportunity to consider the text in advance of the session...

A number of unresolved issues from previous negotiating rounds re-emerged and continued to be a sticking point in discussions...[among which:]

- the limited scope of the Treaty’s application to transnational businesses,...

- [the] lack of consensus on the scope of national courts’ exercise of adjudicative jurisdiction over human rights claims,...

- the proposed obligation of mandatory human rights due diligence...[an obligation] that will need to be further refined... 

The “Zero Draft” is merely the starting point, and it will be important to have continued engagement from all interested parties to develop and refine the document. Expect there to be further parsing of the language of the text in the upcoming rounds of negotiations.

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