Collective Submission: Draft Treaty on Human Rights and Business
Over the last three months, members of the ESCR-Net Corporate Accountability Working Group (CAWG) engaged in a process of collective critique and analysis of the second revised draft Treaty or Legally Binding Instrument (LBI) that was published on 7 August by Ecuador, the Chairperson of the UN Treaty process. Today we are publishing our collective submission and advocacy paper on the Second Revised Draft Treaty on Corporate Accountability.
Social movements and civil society organisations, both members and allies of ESCR-Net, have played an instrumental role in the establishment and development of the UN intergovernmental Treaty process through the Human Rights Council in Geneva as a way to push back against the status quo of corporate impunity and ensure corporate accountability. Our voices remain central and most relevant to this process.
Today, we are publishing our collective submission on the second revised draft Treaty on behalf of ESCR-Net for States to seriously consider during the upcoming Sixth session of the intergovernmental (IGWG) Treaty process in Geneva.
Some of the key issues foregrounded in our collective submission include the following:
- Ensuring that feminist visions, particularly of grassroots women leaders, are at the center of the LBI;
- Centering the lived realities and demands of impacted communities & social movements within them;
- Addressing gaps in obligations towards corporate accountability throughout the text of the LBI;
- Reintroducing and strengthening Articles on State obligations and liability for violations;
- Incorporating the elements of Free, Prior and Informed consent for Indigenous Peoples;
- Including provisions on the right to self-determination;
- Guaranteeing continuous access to information in consultations and remedy processes;
- Introducing a non-pursuit clause for business with oppressors in conflict-affected areas;
- Requiring disengagement/divestment following enhanced due diligence when appropriate;
- Strengthening provisions on criminal liability across the value chain;
- Articulating specific punitive measures in cases of corporate-related abuses / violations;
- Developing referrals of legal or natural persons to the International Criminal Court;
- Ensuring transparency to deter and overcome corporate capture of the State;
- Incorporating workers’ rights into the text - workers’ rights are human rights;
- Cementing the primacy of human rights over trade and investment agreements;
- Improving human rights defenders’ protection from corporate-related abuses / violations;
- Waiving of legal fees and costs for victims where economic barriers exist;
- Ensuring legal representation throughout all proceedings in the context of this LBI; and
- Incorporating safeguards to challenge climate change, particularly when profit-driven.
In summary of our in depth collective submission on the Treaty, we are also making available an ESCR-Net advocacy paper highlighting all our key demands for a stronger draft Treaty, Article by Article.