Cetim’s statements at the UN

08/12/2020

During the 44th and 45th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, CETIM intervened to present cases of human rights violations that are being followed up in the framework of our advocacy work and solidarity with our partners in the South.

Poverty: violation of human rights

CETIM is deeply concerned about the causes of poverty: a multidimensional problem that cuts across all human rights issues. It is in fact indispensable to address poverty well beyond the simple lack of monetary resources, since it encompasses the lack of access to health care, decent housing, sufficient and quality food, water, work and training, as well as exclusion and discrimination. As the COVID-19 pandemic is an indicator of a system that increases inequality and leads to poverty, it is essential to focus on workers in the informal economy, who are particularly affected. In some countries, such as Chile for example, the informal sector is currently subject to violent repression by law enforcement agencies, as this activity is criminalized by law; the authorities are thus driving this sector into illegality, leading workers into a spiral of precariousness and impoverishment. CETIM has asked the UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty to study the violations suffered by people working in the informal sector.

Right to Physical and Mental Health: The Primary Health Care Approach

During the interactive dialogue with the UN Special Rapporteur on the right to health, Mr. Pūras, CETIM was pleased to note that the Rapporteur’s analyses are in line with those we have been developing for many years on this fundamental right. As the Rapporteur rightly points out, it is essential today to identify the major determinants of physical and mental health in poverty and inequalities between and within countries. This is all the more true in the context of the current crisis linked to the COVID-19 pandemic, a crisis that once again demonstrates the need to steer our societies towards integrated health systems based on social justice and based on prevention and not just treatment.

Interactive dialogue with the Expert Working Group on TNCs: Voluntary vs. Binding Standards

Thousands of people affected by transnational corporations continue to denounce the inadequacy of the UN Guiding Principles and the systematic nature of the human rights violations caused by these entities. The only way to put an end to the impunity of TNCs and to guarantee full and complete access to justice is to move towards the elaboration of a binding legal framework to regulate the activities of TNCs. According to CETIM, the discourse that the persistence of human rights violations by TNCs lies in the weak implementation of existing voluntary standards is simply false. This pseudo argument ignores the intrinsic limits of these voluntary standards, which are ambiguous with regard to States and TNCs’obligations. For example, studies conducted on countries that have adopted National Action Plans based on voluntary standards demonstrate the inability of these mechanisms to respond to the challenges of ensuring access to justice for affected communities. Analyses also highlight the often-overwhelming During the 44th and 45th sessions of the UN Human Rights Council, CETIM intervened to present cases of human rights violations that are being followed up in the framework of our advocacy work and solidarity with our partners in the South. HUMAN RIGHTS influence of TNCs interests and their broad hold on public policymaking spaces in many states, which is of particular concern today in times of pandemic.

Elections in Bolivia: CETIM denounces political persecution

In March 2020, CETIM had already denounced the massacres that took place in the country after the institutional rupture of November 2019 and which remain unpunished for the moment. Moreover, in August 2020, our association and its partners seized the human rights protection mechanisms of the United Nations to denounce the impunity of the perpetrators of these massacres. Later, alarmed by information from its partners on the ground, a coalition of international and Latin American NGOs (of which CETIM is a member) recalled the worrying political situation in the country and urged the de facto Bolivian government to put an end to the abuses and to guarantee access to justice for the victims in the context of the October 2020 elections. While welcoming the return of democracy and social peace in Bolivia after the general elections of October 18, 2020, CETIM and its partners on the ground will continue to demand justice for all human rights violations committed during the year of institutional breakdown in the country.

Brazil: Environmental Crimes and corporate Impunity

During the 45th session of the Human Rights Council, Mr. Tuncak, UN Special Rapporteur on the Impact of Hazardous Products and Wastes on Human Rights, presented his report on his visit to Brazil, in which he makes recommendations calling for independent investigations on the issue of abuses of power by transnational corporations in the country. CETIM, which has been following this situation from the outset alongside its partners of the Movimento dos Atingindos por Barragens (MAB), advocates for the accountability of the companies involved. During the debate at the UN, CETIM noted that almost two years after the rupture of the Brumadinho dam (in January 2019), the multinational VALE has still not been held responsible for the damage caused, and called on the Brazilian government to implement the Special Rapporteur’s recommendations.

The texts in extenso can be found on our website, under the section: Human Rights – Declarations to the UN

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