ICJ statement on a treaty on business and human rights

The ICJ today made an oral statement at the UN Human Rights Council, on negotiations for a treaty on business and human rights.

The statement welcomed the report of the Chairperson Rapporteur of the first session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on a Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and other Business enterprises and Human Rights, and thanked Ambassador Espinosa for her effective leadership of the process.

The ICJ reiterated its support to the process of elaboration of an international legally binding instrument. A treaty, together with other existing instruments and coupled with effective and robust national action, has the potential of significantly contributing to advance the protection of human rights in the context of global business operations. The ICJ called on States to ensure that the process results in an instrument that addresses the most pressing challenges in legal accountability of both national and transnational businesses and access to justice and also provides for the crucial international supervisory and monitoring mechanisms to enhance its effectiveness.

Hundreds of civil society organizations, mostly from the grassroots level, participated in the first session of the IGWG and are active in the whole process. The ICJ urges the United Nations and member States to facilitate civil society participation, including from the global south. Despite the significant participation of many States and business associations, the ICJ believes that more should be done to encourage broad and active stakeholder participation. The ICJ calls on states that are home to large transnational corporations to take part in the deliberations of the working group.

The ICJ believes a legally binding instrument will be the necessary complement to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and other instruments. The drafting process should build on some of the accepted key principles and processes, including on the results of the OHCHR project on Corporate Accountability and Access to remedy, cover the conduct of all business enterprises and also contain provisions which address the particular regulatory and jurisdictional challenges pertaining to transnational companies.


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