Towards a treaty on business and human rights (UN Statement)

The ICJ today delivered an oral statement to the UN Human Rights Council, highlighting the need for substantive discussions towards a treaty on business and human rights to be transparent, broad-based with clear timelines.

The statement, which was made during the General Debate on item 3 with the Human Rights Council, read as follows:

Mr President,

Regarding the “Report on the third session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights” (A/HRC/37/67), the ICJ notes with satisfaction the holding of the third session and congratulates the participants, especially the wide participation of civil society groups. The ICJ calls on States from all regions to engage meaningfully in the important work of the OEWG.

The discussions during the third session confirm the need for an international treaty in the area of business and human rights to fill the existing normative and legal protection gaps. Recent years have seen little improvement in this area despite the growing State and business discourse about policies and commitments. Harassment and attacks on human rights defenders that work in the area of corporate accountability have increased and the difficulties for victims of abuse to have access to an effective judicial remedy persist, especially at the transnational level.

The ICJ calls for a transparent and broad-based consultation process with clear timelines to move in the direction of a draft treaty on the basis of the document “Elements for a treaty” presented by the Chairperson –Rapporteur. The ICJ calls on all States and stakeholders to engage responsibly in this process to enable the fourth session of the Working Group to focus on substantive negotiations overcoming divisions on procedure and politics.

Thank you.

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