Transnational corporations (TNCs) commit crimes, violate human rights and destroy the environment with complete impunity in the Global South. National legislations are ineffective in dealing with business enterprises that carry out their activities across borders and operate through intermediaries to avoid any legal liability. And most states are powerless confronted with entities that are often richer and more powerful than they are, and whose interests are protected at the international level by a multitude of investment treaties. Only binding norms at the international level can end TNCs’ impunity.
Support our campaign at the United Nations
- to stop the impunity of TNCs
- to ensure TNCs respect human rights, the environment and the rights of workers, including when operating abroad
- to improve access to justice for victims and affected communities
- to better protect trade unions, peasants and local communities
The CETIM has long had a firm commitment to the adoption of binding international norms on transnational corporations (TNCs) to end impunity for the human rights violations that they commit. He is currently one of the leader of the campaign at the Human Rights Council, together with the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity (Global Campaign), an international network comprising over 200 social movements, organizations, trade unions and representatives of victims and affected communities from all around the world.
In June 2014, the Human Rights Council adopted by vote (20 Yes, 14 No and 13 Abs) a resolution presented by Ecuador and South Africa that created an intergovernmental working group mandated with the drafting of a legally binding instrument to regulate, within the framework of international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises.
It was a historic decision, coming after decades of discussions and fruitless attempts at the United Nations. It was to a large extent the result of the strong mobilization of social movements, in particular the CETIM, the Global Campaign and other organizations participating in the Treaty Alliance.
This initiative of the Human Rights Council can contribute to end the impunity of TNCs for the human rights violations committed, in particular in the Global South, and therefore improve in the long term and at the global level the protection and respect for human rights.
After having contributed to the opening of intergovernmental negotiations, the CETIM is now working together with the Global Campaign so that social movements, organizations, trade unions and representatives of victims and affected communities in the Global South, will be able to participate in the intergovernmental working group and make their voices and proposals heard.
The 1st session of the working group was held in July 2015. Click here to read the summary. And to read the proposals submitted by the Global Campaign to the working group, it is here.
The 2nd session of the working group was held in October 2016. Read the summary here. Demonstrations were organized outside the Palais des Nations. Find a short article here. And discover the new proposals submitted by the Campaign here.
The 3rd session took place in October 2017. You can read the summary of this session here. During this session, the Global Campaign presented its own draft treaty to influence the negotiations in the Working Group. A mine of information, reflection and proposals, this document can be used by activists as well as public and elected authorities who fight against the impunity of TNCs.
The 4th session took place in October 2018. You can read a summary here. The Presidency of the Working group presented a first draft Convention. The Global Campaign submitted comments and concrete proposals to this first draft.
The 5th session was held in October 2019. You can read a summary of the session here. After last year’s first draft Convention, the Chair of the Working Group presented a revised draft Convention. The Global Campaign submitted concrete comments and proposals to this second draft.
This submission contains eight proposals related to the nature, the scope, the form and the content of the future legally binding international instrument. It is submitted on behalf of the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, an international network comprising over 200 social movements, networks, organizations, and representatives of victims and affected communities from all around the world.
The time has come for the Human Rights Council to adopt binding norms to end the impunity of transnational corporations! Countries and peoples of the Global South are the main victims of the asymmetry in the international system. We cannot rely on self-regulation and voluntary codes of conduct to discipline the most powerful actors in the global economy today.
Thank you Mr. Ambassador. The CETIM is an organization based in Geneva that was created fourty years ago to promote a more equitable international system and fairer North-South relations. Since its creation, it is actively engaged in the promotion of human rights, in particular economic, social and cultural rights, and the right to development. It […]
Press release Historic: the Human Rights Council decides to launch negotiations on new binding international norms concerning the human rights responsibilities of TNCs! The Human Rights Council just adopted a resolution presented by Ecuador and South Africa that establishes an intergovernmental working group with the mandate of developing an international legally binding instrument to regulate […]
In 2013, a series of dramatic accidents in Bangladeshi textile factories caused thousands of casualties, spurring worldwide protests.
In the wake of this uproar, a number of corporations and trade unions involved concluded the “Accord on Fire and Building in Bangladesh”. This deal has incidentally been publicized and celebrated as an example of corporate social responsibility. The agreement is largely based on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (also known as the Ruggie principles), which are supposed to prevent human rights violations. However, this initiative turned out to be one more of countless deceits by transnational corporations. They burnish their image before the public, without genuinely taking responsibility for respecting human rights.