Human Rights and Business Treaty

ESCR-Net members and allies are working collectively to advocate for a strong treaty at the United Nations to prevent and remedy human rights violations by transnational corporations and other companies. This page provides key documents and examples of collective advocacy towards the development of a binding instrument.


Around the world, ESCR-Net members and others are confronting widespread and systemic corporate human rights abuses. This trend is intensified by lack of effective regulation in both the home and host States of corporations and a failure to ensure effective access to remedy and accountability.

For more than a decade, ESCR-Net members have been taking collective action to advance the development of a clear and comprehensive international human rights framework on corporate accountability, including an international binding treaty on human rights and business.



2018 Advocacy Positions

Advocacy Position Papers

A core group of CAWG members have developed advocacy positions on the Zero Draft of the Treaty for the consideration of the IGWG in relation to:

  1. Adopting stronger safeguards against corporate capture (undue corporate influence),

  2. Integrating protections for human rights defenders

  3. Addressing (more fully) the rights of indigenous peoples

  4. Incorporating a feminist and gender responsive lens

  5. Including stronger protections against corporate human rights abuse in conflict-affected areas

  • We also include a short article analyzing the Draft Optional Protocol to the Treaty, written by ESCR-Net members, the Due Process of Law Foundation and Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales.

Advocacy Position Papers

Key documents


From the Fourth IGWG



CORPORATE CAPTURE IN THE BINDING TREATY: how this Treaty can effectively address corporate capture, and how we can protect the Treaty process from being captured


PROTECTING DEFENDERS: how the Treaty should consider human rights defenders in the fight for corporate accountability


Hacia un tratado vinculante sobre ETNs y derechos humanos: miradas desde América Latina


Coalitions and Regional Advocacy

Treaty Alliance

Co-founded by ESCR-Net to help coordinate actions
and communications across diverse allies in the treaty process.


An alliance of feminist organizations, co-founded by several
ESCR-Net members and supported by CAWG

Treaty Initiative

A joint project of ESCR-Net and FIDH to develop initial
legal proposals for the treaty based on regional consultations

Latin America
Intervention in a public hearing of the IACHR in Colombia,
in March 2018 (video in Spanish only).

Collective submission to Special Rapporteur
on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights.
You can also find ESCR-Net's submitted documents in English 

Plenary panel at African Coalition on Corporate Accountability (ACCA)
4th General Assembly in South Africa, in November 2017
as well as member interventions at the African Commission on
Human and Peoples Rights