Treaty on business and human rights; threats to independence of the judiciary in Europe

The ICJ, speaking in a general debate at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, urged all States to work together towards adoption of a treaty on business and human rights, and highlighted threats to the independence of the judiciary in Europe.

The statement, delivered in the general thematic debate at the Council, read as follows:

“The International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) welcomes the report of the 5th session of the Intergovernmental Working Group (A/HRC/43/55) in charge of the elaboration of a treaty on business and human rights and notes the consensual nature of its conclusions and recommendations. Abuses of human rights and environmental degradation caused with the involvement of business enterprises have so far been met with very limited action by businesses and States.

The ICJ considers that the revised draft treaty is a serious and advanced proposal that is suitable for negotiations and thanks the Chair-Rapporteur for its efforts and leadership in this process.

The ICJ urges States that are not yet actively involved in the negotiations to join the growing number of States that are active for a final push.

The ICJ also draws the attention of the Council to serious threats to independence of judges and lawyers in European countries.

In Poland, judges are being disciplined merely for applying EU law, under legislation curtailing their freedom of expression and independence.

In Turkey, independence of lawyers and judges continues to be seriously compromised, as demonstrated by the disciplinary proceedings against the Gezi trial judges launched after critical comments by the President of Turkey.

The ICJ urges the Council to give attention to these developments of extreme concern.”

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