Submission on scope of future treaty on business and human rights
This paper was prepared by the ICJ for the first session of the Open Ended Intergovernmental working Group on a Legally Binding Instrument on TNCs and other business enterprises, argues that all conduct by all types of business enterprises, whether local or transnational, should be addressed in the legally binding instrument.
The paper argues that business enterprises that do not have any or any significant transnational operations no doubt are capable of and in many instances have been responsible for human rights abuses no less serious in scale or severity than those of transnational businesses. The victims of human rights abuses committed directly or indirectly by businesses are unlikely to distinguish whether the business enterprise that causes them harm has transnational ownership or operations; nor are victims likely to excuse abuses they suffer from a “local” business simply because the entity lacks a transnational element.
Therefore, in principle all conduct by all types of business enterprises, whether local or transnational, shall be addressed in the legally Binding instrument. The footnote in the preamble should not be interpreted as limiting in any way the scope of possible discussions in the Intergovernmental Working Group or any analysis or recommendations that may be reported back to the Council on a future treaty.