Corporate Accountability Working Group issues set of recommendations to UN to address corporate-related human rights abuses

ESCR-Net’s Corporate Accountability Working Group (CAWG) has made a submission jointly calling upon the United Nations’ Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights (IGWG) to include many priorities of its membership into the content of the forthcoming Treaty to address corporate-related human rights abuses.

The submission is a reflection of CSOs’ priorities that emerged over the course of the past two years. In this time, CAWG led a worldwide consultation with over 150 CSOs, including in-person consultations with our members and partners in Asia-Pacific, Africa and Latin America, and online consultations with CSOs from all regions, many who deal first-hand with the impacts of transnational corporations and other business enterprises (‘TNC-OBE’).  

The key recommendations made in the CAWG submission are as follows. The Treaty must: reflect the realities of the global impact of TNC-OBE by ensuring the Treaty reaffirms the primacy of human rights obligations (Section 2.1); cover all human rights (Section 2.2); and be applicable to all TNC-OBE, while primarily addressing the activities of TNCs (Section 2.3). To ensure an enabling environment for the enjoyment of human rights in practice, the CAWG calls for the Treaty to outline the framework requirements for operationalizing the legal responsibilities of TNC-OBE to respect human rights (Section 2.4) and for ensuring access to information and participation (Section 2.5), and affirm States’ extraterritorial obligations (Section 2.6).

To facilitate access to justice for persons whose human rights are impaired by TNC-OBE activities, the CAWG calls for the Treaty to address legal and practical obstacles to redress through framework requirements regarding access to justice (Section 2.7) and protection of human rights defenders (Section 2.8).  Further, specific consideration should be given to the disproportionate influence of corporations on policy making by addressing the prevalence of ‘corporate capture’ (Section 2.9). The CAWG also calls for the Treaty to address the impacts of TNC-OBE activity from a gender perspective (Section 2.10) and the perspective of indigenous peoples (Section 2.11), as well as strengthen effective oversight of TNC-OBE activities in conflict and post-conflict situations (Section 2.12).

Access the full submission here

For more information please see the Treaty Initiative website here.