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From July 6-10, the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) will meet in Geneva, Switzerland, aiming to advance on the debate towards the building of a binding instrument related to human rights and transnational corporations. The meeting takes place a year after the UNHRC adopted the proposal submitted by Ecuador and South Africa to develop such an agreement. The social movements that supported and exerted pressure for this instrument to become a reality will be present again in Geneva to carry out mobilizations parallel to the UNHRC meeting, more precisely from July 6 to 10.
Over 600 organizations and social movements at world level have been involved in this process, among them the Movement of People Affected by Dams (MAB) of Brazil. To know more about the position and participation of the movement in this process, Real World Radio interviewed Tchenna Maso, member of MAB, who will be present at the coming mobilizations in Switzerland.
“MAB has 25 years of history of struggle. In all this time we´ve faced countless human rights violations by energy transnational companies in Brazil”, said the activist when asked about why the movement is getting involved in this process. Specifically, Tchenna highlighted the need to create an international framework that enables the end of the “true culture of TNC impunity that we are experiencing in the world”.
One of the main goals of the movement is to contribute to the development of a treaty on human rights and transnational corporations based on the experience accumulated around the identification of the impacts of the actions of large energy companies in rural and urban populations. “In addition to families, who are directly affected by hydroelectric dams, we have the dynamic of the families who live and depend on rivers which is also altered, we have cities with modified dynamics due to the building of dams. So we work around the idea of a broad category of people affected, including all the social dimensions linked to the building of a dam”.
The MAB, according to Tchenna, has worked with people affected by the energy model in general, taking into account those impacted by mining or shale gas exploitation, for instance.
About the participation of the governments in this debate, Tchenna reported that the Brazilian government (which abstained from voting on the treaty last year) committed to be part of the working group in Geneva this time. Anyway, the movements are aware of the difficulties implied by several northern countries opposing the development of a treaty such as the one under discussion.
Lastly, Tchenna considered it fundamental to support Ecuador´s and South African´s governments which promoted the process, but also the possibility of civil society to have a true influence on the contents of the future treaty.
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