Tuesday, July 07, 2015

News From the Front Lines: 1st Session of the Intergovernmental Working Group and the Construction of a Business and Human Rights Treaty

(Pix © Larry Catá Backer 2015)

At the 26th session of the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva, two resolutions were tabled for adoption by the Council. The first is a resolution drafted by Ecuador and South Africa and signed also by Bolivia, Cuba and Venezuela. . . . It directs "to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group with the mandate to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with respect to human rights."  (Business and Human Rights Resource Center,  Binding treaty: Pros and cons (June 2014).
These actions have produced a storm of activity with partisans and opponents of both resolutions quickly weighing in on the debate.  I have spoken to the effort, suggesting both its limits and the likely failure of the enterprise, though not without some positive consequences for the effort (See here, here, here, here and here). Others have been more positive about this project (see, e.g., here).

The first session of the UN Human Rights Council’s Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group  is currently underway, commencing 6 July and ending 10 July 2015, with sessions from 10:00 - 13:00 and 15:00 - 18:00 CEST daily. For those interested here are some useful resources:

--Website  of the Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group (here)
--Resolution A/HRC/RES/26/9 can be at the following OHCHR website (here)
--Watch the discussions live through UN Web TV
--Read reports from advocates in Geneva
--Concept note proposed under the responsibility of the designated Chair, Ambassador María Fernanda Espinosa, Permanent Republic of Ecuador to the United Nations in Geneva
--Programme of Work
--Follow the debate on twitter using #BizHumanRights & #StopCorporateAbuse

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