The Intergovernmental Working Group (WG) of the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) working group on the elaboration of a binding treaty on transnational corporations (TNCs) entered the “negotiation mode”. The Charimanship of the group (Ecuador) presented an “Elements paper”, which will serve as basis for the negotiations.
The WG met in Geneva from 23 to 27 October 2017 for the drafting of the future Treaty. Discussions focused on the human rights obligations of TNCs and States. Particularly in the area of TNC liability (as an entity and their managers, i. e. natural and legal persons) in administrative, civil and criminal matters. Discussions also focused on access to justice for victims, the issue of jurisdiction (responsibility between the home State and the host State of a given TNC). As well as the establishment of an International Court on TNCs and human rights, international cooperation, etc.
The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle corporate Power and Stop Impunity brings together 200 civil society organizations from around the world (including social movements and affected communities), including CETIM. 130 of its delegates (from all continents) were in Geneva (both inside and outside the UN) to make their demands heard. It presented its own treaty to influence the negotiations in the Working Group. A mine of information, reflection and proposals, this document can be used as much by activists as by public and elected authorities fighting against TNCs’ impunity.
CETIM was a key player in the participation of representatives of social movements and communities assigned to the Working Group, and also presented comments on the “Elements” of the Presidency.
Despite obsessive attempts at obstruction coming from the European Union, the process is underway. Some 100 State delegations participated in the work of the Working Group. Political support for this process is growing. 200 parliamentarians from 20 countries committed to supporting the process in a declaration issued at the end of a Parliamentary Forum. The meeting was held in Geneva on the eve of the 3rd session of the Intergovernmental Working Group.
The Chair of the Intergovernmental Working Group is scheduled to present a formal draft of the Treaty next year (October 2018).