In the course of the Human Rights Council’s thirty-first session, the CETIM intervened in the discussion of subjects related to its historic role of advocate and nerve center for the social movements of the Global South.
During the Council’s session, which was held in February and March 2016, the CETIM condemned the anti-union repression in Colombia. The Sindicato de Trabajadores del Sistema Agroalimentario de Colombia (SINALTRAINAL), long-time partner of the CETIM, is particularly affected by this. It is indisputable that the human rights violations committed by the sector’s transnationals remain unpunished most of the time.
The CETIM denounced the situation regarding human rights in Turkey. The ever greater militarization and political repression of of dissident voices have given rise to numerous human rights violations. The need to establish an international commission of inquiry to shed light on these violations and see that justice is done was emphasized.
The CETIM also denounced the arbitrary detention of Julian Assange (founder of Wikileaks). It requested that the Council guarantee the authority of the Working Group on Arbitrary Detention, whose activities are under attack by Sweden and the United Kingdom.
Further, during the Universal Periodic Review of Australia, the CETIM demanded that this country oversee the activities of its transnational corporation, in keeping with it extra-territorial obligations.
Finally, the CETIM intervened to sound the alarm on the climate of violence that reigns in Madagascar. The populations inhabiting areas rich in natural resources are subject o arbitrary arrests, violence and forced displacements. The CETIM requested an examination of the situation by the Special Rapporteur on Extra-Judicial, Summary or Arbitrary Executions.
The Conference How to Hold Multinational Corporations Responsible for Human Rights Violation?
Parallel to the Council, the CETIM co-organized a conference to discuss the key elements and challenges inherent in the adoption of binding norms for multinationals. Jean Ziegler (a member of the Council’s Advisory Committee), Alfred De Zayas (Independent Expert on the Promotion of a Democratic and Equitable International Order), H. E. Maria Fernanda Espinosa (Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the United Nations Office in Geneva), Alberto Villarreal (FOEI) and Melik Özden (CETIM) participated.