28 october: “Business and Human Rights Treaty: Clean up the mess!”
CIDSE final Press Release (Italian)
As part of its commitment to advocate for human rights above corporate interests, CIDSE is closely following the negotiations for a binding Treaty on transnational corporations and other business enterprises. The open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG), enters this year its 8th session in Geneva from 24 to 28 October 2022. A CIDSE delegation with partner organisations will be present to lobby official delegations and join initiatives of allies such as Franciscans International and the Treaty Alliance Movement.
What is the status of the Treaty process?
The Permanent Mission of Ecuador, on behalf of the Chairmanship of the OEIGWG, released in August 2021 the Third Revised Draft of a legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational cooperation and other business enterprises. In the Report adopted at the end of the 7th session, the Chair committed to advance the process together with a group of Friends of the Chair, friendly States working together to reach a compromise text.
However, the Friends of the Chair group was not formed until after the summer. Comprising France, Portugal, Azerbaijan, Indonesia and Uruguay, it still lacks an African member.
The Chair circulated an informal draft compromise on selected articles only late into September this year, radically departing from the previous texts which is not the result of the Friends of the Chair’s work. The Treaty Alliance and other civil society groups are calling for States to engage on the basis of the third revised draft – including amendements to it proposed by States and civil society during the last session.
CIDSE and its members believe that the Third Revised Draft is the product of active engagement and negotiations by States, and should still be the main starting point for them during the negotiations. This year too, CIDSE will be making the case for a Treaty that advances provisions allowing affected right-holders to access remedy and justice, and to protect indigenous communities, human rights and environmental defenders.
– CIDSE’s contribution with regard to last year’s negotiations with concrete textual proposals to improve the 3rd revised draft
– A legal analysis of the third revised draft by Dr. Prof Markus Krajewski, published by CIDSE
The role of the EU
Together with our members and allies, we have been making the case for active involvement in the negotiations by the EU and its Member States. In the past years, the EU has played the role of a by-stander, lacking an official mandate to negotiate.
With the legislative proposal for a domestic law on corporate human rights and environmental due diligence, it is clear that there is now a strong case for the EU to negotiate as a block. But some of the crucial issues dealt with in the Treaty pertain to Member States’ competences, which means national governments cannot hide behind the Commission and must also work to improve the text.
The case is clearly made by a study by four academic experts published by CIDSE and six other civil society organisations.
– The study on the Complementarity between the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive and a UN legally binding Instrument (LBI), and the main take-aways from civil society
– Article: Why isn’t the EU more engaged in the Binding Treaty negotiations? By Giuseppe Cioffo (CIDSE) and Jill McArdle (Friends of the Earth Europe)
– Global solutions to global problems: Why EU legislation and a UN instrument on corporate accountability must be complementary”. A policy briefing by CIDSE, ECCJ, ECCHR, FIDH and Friends of the Earth-Europe
This year our delegation will consist of secretariat staff with the following member organisations: CAFOD, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, Fastenaktion, KOO/DKA, Misereor and Trócaire and partners from Brazil, Colombia and Africa. CIDSE will participate as a member of the Treaty Alliance, a global coalition of civil society, social movements and NGOs working for a Treaty on transnational corporations.
–General Oral Statement, 24 October
–CIDSE Oral Statement on Article 6, 25 October
–CIDSE Oral Statement on Article 8, 25 October
–CIDSE Oral Statement on Article 10, 26 October
–CIDSE Oral Statement on the Preamble, 26 October
–CIDSE Oral Statement on Article 14, 27 October
–CIDSE Oral Statement on Article 15, 27 October
–Statement FIAN International on behalf of the Treaty Alliance, The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples’ Sovereignty,Dismantle Corporate Powerand End Impunity; The ESCR-Net; the Feminists for the Binding Treaty and the Young Friends of the Treaty (YouFT) (English and Spanish version are available), 24 October
–Statement from RECOWA (Reunion of Episcopal Conferences of West Africa) by Fr Vincent de Paul, 24 October
Activities by CIDSE, its members, allies and partners
Monday 17 October: DKA/KOO side event – Virtual Side Event on Child Rights approach to the draft Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights, 13-14.30 PM.
Monday 24 October: The Illusion of Abundance – Defending Latin American territories from predatory extractivism, 1:30– 2.45 PM CEST, Palais des Nations, Room XXVII.
Tuesday 25 October: Public screening of the documentary The Illusion of Abundance in Geneva at Cinemas du Grütli, 19.00-21.00 PM. Register here.
Tuesday 25 October: Franciscans International side event – Towards Environmental Justice: The role of the Legally Binding Instrument for business accountability in combatting the triple planetary crisis, 6.45-8.00 PM.
- Trócaire/Irish Coalition for Business and Human rights: Time for a Treaty: Will Ireland support a UN Binding Treaty to tackle corporate impunity?, policy paper
- Entraide et Fraternité: Made in Impunity – Caoutchouc belge en Côte d’Ivoire
-Repsol case: The Worst Oil Spill Off the Coast of Peru