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Although it is possible to trace its origins back to the opposition by social organizations to the Free Trade Area of the Americas (FTAA) and even the mobilizations that exposed the role of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in the reproduction of dependence at world level, the Dismantle Corporate Power and Impunity campaign was created two years ago and last week it had a political victory that could imply a turning point.
We are referring to the resolution adopted on Thursday 26 according to which an intergovernmental working group made up by the countries present at the 26th session of the Human Rights Council was created to develop a binding treaty to regulate the actions of transnational corporations around human rights.
The deadline established for this treaty is two years, and although it may seem a lot, given the seriousness of the denunciations against the behavior of businesses in the territories and communities of the Global South, the countries of origin of the main transnational corporations announced blockades and pressured against it a few hours after the resolution was made public,.
“We believe it is time (to develop a Peoples´ Treaty) because in these past 20 years, corporations have advanced in their rights more than the communities themselves”, said Argentinian Gonzalo Berron of the Transnational Institute (TNI) when describing the framework of the mobilization week focused on Geneva while the HRC resolutions were being adopted.
The development of the Treaty was one of the issues addressed, both in its binding aspects and in its alternatives against human rights violations by corporations.
Erika Gonzalez, of OMAL, said that “alternatives need to be created and proposed from the grassroots level” and in order to pass them it is necessary to mobilize and develop a new legal logic that can result in a contribution to new paradigms.
The four drivers supporting “corporate impunity” and its “architecture”, according to the Spanish activist, include host countries and countries of origin, but also multilateral organizations such as the OECD or the World Bank, and of course the company involved and its branches.
The mobilization week also included a strategy meeting of the campaign were the organizations present analyzed the political calendar for the rest of the year and 2015, identifying as key issues some moments such as the UN meeting on the Climate Crisis to take place in Peru in December (COP20).
In addition, there will be Permanent Peoples Tribunals in Colombia, Mexico and also India, as part of this campaign. There are plans to organize a peoples´ assembly in 2015 to approve the definitive text of the Treaty promoted by the organizations, while the path of the intergovernmental process is monitored in the different countries with national and global actions.
And as a key element necessary after the approval of the resolution promoted by Ecuador and South Africa at the Human Rights Council it is essential to circulate its contents and its effects at the short and medium term.
Meanwhile, Brid Brennan, also from TNI, highlighted the fact that the Peoples Treaty process is not viewed as a mere contribution to international law in terms of human or economic rights.
“We´ve seen with today´s testimonies how intense the confrontation is with corporate power”. “We do not see it only as a juridical alternative, we see the space of the Peoples´ Treaty as a place to also develop our alternatives to debate, to deepen our strategies, an integral and dialectical component of the Peoples Treaty”, said Brennan. “This is a space where we will develop new struggles, new articulations of alternatives”, she added.
See below the institutional video of the HRC about the voting of the resolution which was passed with 20 votes in favor, 14 against and 10 abstentions.
Imagen: www.foei.org / Víctor Barro
Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (ATI) ya tiene una delegación en Ginebra, Suiza, para dar muestras a una nueva sesión regular del Consejo de Derechos Humanos de Naciones Unidas (ONU), que va del 6 al 23 de junio, del respaldo popular a las negociaciones del tratado vinculante sobre transnacionales y derechos humanos, que se negocia en ese marco multilateral.
Esta edición de nuestro programa semanal abre con la flamante coordinadora general del COPINH, Berta Zúñiga Cáceres, con quien profundizamos en las luchas de ese movimiento indígena, el caso legal por el asesinato de su madre, Berta, y las principales preocupaciones.
La presión en el marco de Naciones Unidas (ONU) a favor de los principios rectores sobre empresas y derechos humanos es muy grande, reconoció la presidenta de Amigos de la Tierra Internacional (ATI), Karin Nansen. Pero esos principios no funcionan en los hechos y nunca lo harán, aseguró, por su carácter voluntario, que no obliga a las corporaciones a respetarlos.
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