6 proposals for a UN treaty on transnational corporations


Six written statements are presented before the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnationals Corporation. The texts speak of the content, the scope and the implementation mechanism of the future treaty.

Click here to read the whole texts of the declarations


Extraterritorial Obligations

It is crucial that states draft national laws dealing with the violations committed by the private sector. Access to an international court or to national courts should be provided for when cooperation mechanisms demonstrate relaxed in order to assure the primacy of human rights and to put an end to the impunity of TNCs and their directors.

Transnational Corporations Obligations

It has long been considered that transnational corporations and legal persons in general could not be held responsible for human rights violations. States were considered the only subjects of international law, hence this responsibility was incumbent solely on them. Most bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements place TNCs above states and above peoples and citizens. Correcting the defects of international law should be the main objective of the new binding international instrument.


The main obstacle to putting an end to human rights violations committed by TNCs remains the absence international control mechanisms and implementation. Such a court would allow victims of violations to have access to an independent international judicial instance to seek and obtain, as from a state, reparation from a TNC or from an international (financial) institution and would make it possible to recognize the civil and criminal responsibility of these entities for these violations.

Shared Responsibility

The future treaty must require states to provide in their national legislation for the principle of shared of responsibility of the parent corporation and its value chain, as well as the civil and criminal responsibility of both TNCs and their directors. This shared and joint responsibility must apply to both the crimes and infractions committed by the TNCs and those committed by their affiliates and sub-contractors.

International Financial Institutions

The international (financial) institutions such as the World Bank, the International Monetary Fund and the World Trade Organization must respect international human rights and basic freedoms. The future treaty should include provisions for recognizing the responsibilities of these institutions in the event of human rights violations in order to end a system of private arbitration and reaffirm the supremacy of human rights and basic freedoms as well as state sovereignty over the rights of TNCs and investors.

Regarding the Rights of Persons Affected

In the perspective of the treaty aiming to regulate the activity of TNCs, it is necessary that the moral and legitimate authority of the persons affected be recognized. A uniform level of protection and reparation must be offered to the persons affected by the activity of these companies. Its is thus essential that a chapter of the treaty be dedicated to the concept of affected person, as well as to the various means related to the right to reparation.

Click here to read the whole texts of the declarations.

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