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Call for an International Legally Binding Instrument on Human Rights, Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises

December 2, 2013

We, the undersigned organisations,

Concerned about the continuing abuses and violations of human rights occurring all over the world which directly or indirectly engage the responsibility of business enterprises;

Concerned also that such abusive conduct often disproportionately impacts women, who comprise the majority of workers in the most vulnerable sectors, peasants, indigenous peoples, persons living in poverty, children among others, and especially concerned by the fact that justice is denied to those who suffer harm,

Considering the invaluable work done by human rights defenders and organisations, trade unions, indigenous rights and women rights defenders and others defending and protecting human rights in the face of corporate- related abuses,

Concerned at the incidence of attacks, harassment, restrictions, intimidation and reprisals against these human rights defenders,

Considering the initiatives taken by some States within and outside the United Nations human rights bodies as well as the action and work undertaken by human rights experts and bodies of the United Nations to provide better protection of human rights in the context of business operations,

Recalling existing States’ obligations under global and regional human rights treaties and the need to implement and complement those treaties to make them effective in the context of business transnational operations,

Convinced of the need to enhance the international legal framework, including international remedies, applicable to State action to protect rights in the context of business operations, and mindful of the urgent need to ensure access to justice and remedy and reparations for victims of corporate human rights abuse,

1. Call upon the States to elaborate an international treaty that:

a) Affirms the applicability of human rights obligations to the operations of transnational corporations and other business enterprises;

b) Requires States Parties to monitor and regulate the operations of business enterprises under their jurisdiction, including when acting outside their national territory, with a view to prevent the occurrence of abuses of human rights in the course of those operations,

c) Requires States Parties to provide for legal liability for business enterprises for acts or omissions that infringe human rights;

d) Requires States Parties to provide for access to an effective remedy by any State concerned, including access to justice for foreign victims that suffered harm from acts or omissions of a business enterprise in situations where there are bases for the States involved to exercise their territorial or extraterritorial protect- obligations.

e) Provides for an international monitoring and accountability mechanism.

f) Provides for protection of victims, whistle-blowers and human rights defenders that seek to prevent, expose or ensure accountability in cases of corporate abuse and guarantees their right to access to information relevant in this context

2. Call on the United Nations Human Rights Council to take step towards the elaboration of this treaty, and to that end establish an open ended working group tasked with a drafting mandate.

3. Call on civil society organisations to take measures towards the establishment of a joint initiative to achieve the objective of a legally binding instrument within the United Nations without delay.

Signatories (as at Dec 2, 2013)

  • Accountability Counsel, USA
  • ADC Memorial, Russia
  • ADHOC (Cambodia)
  • AGORA Espacio Civil, Paraguay
  • Afghanistan Watch
  • African Law Foundation (AFRILAW), Nigeria
  • Al-Haq
  • Alternative ASEAN Network on Burma (Alt-SEAN Burma)
  • Alyansya Tigil Mina – Alliance Against Mining (Philippines)
  • Anti-POSCO People’s Movement, India
  • APRODEH, Peru
  • Armanshahr/OPEN ASIA (Afghanistan)
  • Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law and Development (APWLD)
  • Associação Mama Mater/IBFAN, Portugal
  • Association of Religious Liberty & Languages of Sri Lanka
  • Avocats Sans Frontieres
  • Burma Partnership
  • Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies, Egypt
  • CAOI
  • CAJAR (Colectivo de Abogados José Alvear Restrepo), Colombia
  • Canada Tibet Committee
  • CCS, Panama
  • CEDAL- Centro de Derechos y Desarrollo
  • CEDH (Centre Oecuménique des Droits Humain), Haïti
  • CEDHU (La Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos)
  • CENIDH, Nicaragua
  • Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL)
  • Center of Concern, USA
  • Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), South Africa
  • Citizens Watch Russia
  • International Indian Treaty Council – CITI
  • Centro de Documentación en Derechos Humanos ‘Segundo Montes Mozo S.J.’ (CSMM)
  • Citizens for Justice-(CFJ), Malawi
  • Comision Mexicana de Defensa y Promocion de los Derechos Humanos
  • Comité Permanente por la Defensa de los Derechos Humanos (CPDH), Colombie
  • Community Resource Centre (CRC), Thailand
  • Defenders of Human Rights Centre – DHRC (Iran)
  • Dejusticia
  • Democracy Center
  • DESCA Equipo Pueblo, México
  • DKA Austria – Hilfswerk der Katholischen Jungschar, Austria
  • Due Process of Law Foundation
  • Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights,
  • EOHR – Egyptian Organisation for Human Rights
  • Equitable Cambodia
  • FIAN International
  • Fiery Hearts Club, Uzbekistan/France
  • Finnish League for Human Rights
  • Freedom from Debt Coalition-FDC, Philippines
  • Friends of the Earth US
  • Global Rights: Partners for Justice, USA
  • Gong Gam Human Rights Law Foundation, South Korea
  • Green Advocates International
  • Gulf Civil Society Association Forum, Bahrein
  • Habi Center for Environmental Rights
  • Housing International Coalition (HIC)
  • Human Rights Commission of Pakistan – HRCP (Pakistan)
  • Human Rights Foundation of Aotearoa New Zealand
  • Human Rights Movement ‘Bir Duino – Kirgizstan’
  • Human Rights Online Philippines (Philippines)
  • HRD-Pilipinas (Philippines)
  • Inclusive Development International
  • Indigenous Peoples Links (PIPLinks), UK
  • International Campaign for Tibet – ICT (Tibet)
  • International Commission of Jurists
  • International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
  • International Service for Human Rights
  • Justiça Global
  • Kampanya para sa Makataong Pamumuhay (KAMP) – Campaign for Life of Dignity for All-Philippines  (Philippines)
  • Kazakhstan International Bureau for Human Rights and Rule of Law
  • Kenyan Human Rights Commission
  • KILOS KA (Kilusang Maralita sa Kanayunan), The Philippines
  • KontraS (Indonesia)
  • Korean House of International Solidarity (KHIS)
  • La Comisión Nacional de los Derchos Humanos
  • La Oficina Jurídica Para la Mujer de Cochabamba, Bolivia
  • LAHRA (Lanao Alliance of Human Rights Advocates, The Philippines
  • Lao Movement for Human Rights – MLDH (Laos)
  • Lauri Tanner
  • Lawyers without Borders
  • League for the Defence of Human Rights in Iran -LDDHI (Iran)
  • Legal Aid Society, Uzbekistan
  • Liga lidských práv / League of Human Rights, Czech Republic
  • Ligue algérienne pour la défense des droits de l’Homme (LADDH)
  • LuaLua Center for Human Rights (LCHR), Bahrein
  • Mindanao Peoples’ Peace Movement (MPPM), The Philippines
  • Mindanao Tripeople Women Resource Center (MTWRC), The Philippines
  • MiningWatch, Canada
  • National Centre For Advocacy Studies, India
  • Network for Justice and Development, Sierra Leone
  • NGO Citizens’ Watch
  • Movimento dos Atingidos por Barragens, Brazil
  • Observatorio Ciudadano, Chile
  • Odhikar (Bangladesh)
  • Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates – PAHRA (Philippines)
  • Philippine Human Rights Information Center (PHILRIGHTS)
  • Plataforma Interamericana de Derechos Humanos, Democracia y Desarrollo (PIDHDD)
  • POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (Anti-POSCO peoples movement), India
  • Pradžių pradžia (Promotion, protection and support of breastfeeding), Lithuania
  • Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research (PODER), Mexico
  • PUMC-UNAM; Mexico
  • RAID, UK
  • Réseau national de défense des droits humains (RNDDH), Haití
  • Russian Research Center for Human Rights
  • Sakum Teang Tnaut (STT)
  • Salam Bahrain for Human Rights
  • Society for Environmental Actions, Re-Construction & Humanitarian Response, Pakistan
  • SOMO
  • SUMPAY Mindanao, Inc., The Philippines
  • Task Force Detainees of the Philippines – TFDP (Philippines)
  • The Cairo Institute for Human Rights Studies (CIHRS)
  • The Jus Semper Global Alliance
  • Traidcraft, UK
  • Transnational Institute
  • Vietnam Committee on Human Rights – VCHR (Vietnam)
  • Welthaus Diözese Graz-Seckau, Austria
  • World Organisation Against Torture (OMCT)
  • YAC Nepal
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This post is in: Business and Human Rights, Press Release

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