The ICJ and other groups call States to join multilateral negotiations of a UN treaty on business and human rights

The statement on behalf of four groups was delivered in the context of the General Debate on Item 3 during the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council.

The groups called all States to take up the opportunity to strengthen a multilateral approach the issue of business and human rights by joining the intergovernmental process to establish a legally binding instrument in this field.

The statement is as follows:

The current intergovernmental process to establish a legally binding instrument in the field of business and human rights offers States the opportunity to work through international cooperation and multilateral engagement to effectively address the human rights impact of business activities.

We thus urge all States –including those that have been so far reluctant to engage- to actively participate in this process.

Only constructive dialogue among all States and other stakeholders, especially the affected communities, can lead to sustainable solutions to the existing normative and protection gaps.

This 38th session of the Human Rights Council marks the 10th anniversary of its adoption of the Framework Report “Protect, Respect and Remedy”.

As we celebrate the contribution of this Framework, which led to the creation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, we must emphasize the need to increase the international community’s response.

In the past ten years, although important work has been done in some areas and by some countries, little systemic positive change has been felt on the ground, where many individuals, especially indigenous and peasant workers and communities, continue to endure the violation of their rights without recourse to real remedy avenues.

The creation of an international legally binding framework for States to maximize action and cooperation regarding rights abuses in the context of business operations remains a compelling necessity of our times.

I thank you.

Full statement in English (PDF): Universal-HRC38-BHR-treaty-Advocacy-non-legal-submission-June-2018-ENG

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