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The Treaty Alliance is calling the international community to participate in the second session of the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) to take place in Geneva, from October 24-28. The goal of this group is to create a legally binding treaty on transnational corporations and other business enterprises to limit their human rights violations.
Made up of networks and groups around the world, the Treaty Alliance works towards the goal of establishing a set of binding obligations and effective enforcement mechanisms for the promotion and protection of human rights. The Alliance aims at establishing an international legal framework that complements the already existing instruments to allow for legal accountability, improved access to justice and the struggle against corporate impunity.
In order to strengthen international cooperation and address global regulatory challenges, the Treaty Alliance invites each government and the civil society in all countries to be actively involved and support the Intergovernmental Working Group.
The Alliance notes that “the growing mobilization of civil society organizations, including social movements, indigenous groups and local communities, as well as workers and their unions in the North and the South, in support of the international treaty process, reflects widespread demands for fair and robust regulation of transnational corporations and other business enterprises”, according to a declaration issued in September. The Alliance also reminds the authorities that the people are urging all States to comply with the obligation to protect human rights against TNCs. It adds “Refraining from participating in international negotiations disregards those obligations and commitments and lacks any justification”.
In this statement, the Treaty Alliance welcomes the fact that a good number of States and civil society organizations are participating in the negotiation process, but warns that the contribution of many others is necessary for a successful process. The Alliance suggests that “Affected communities, human rights defenders and other civil society organizations should be able to find space to express themselves and contribute to this collective process”. It also highlights “the crucial importance of State participation” and urges “those States that have not already decided to attend the second session to do so. Constant and active participation of State delegates will signal their true commitment to put human rights and the planet first, over business profit”.
In the declaration issued in September, the Treaty Alliance condemns the growing threats and attacks on human rights defenders working to hold companies accountable. They also demand investigation and punishment for the perpetrators and reaffirm that the legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises must contain provisions that enhance a protection regime for human rights defenders and whistle blowers.
In addition, the Alliance rejects the actions and attempts by some corporations to unduly influence the process and the position of states and other actors and capture the terms of the debate. They call on States to ensure the legally binding instrument incorporates protections against undue influence by corporations of national regulatory and policy debates in which they have a conflict of interest, similarly to the Framework Convention on Tobacco Control that bans tobacco companies from influencing debates around public policies. Finally, they remind that the process towards a binding treaty should be transparent, participative and people-centered.
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