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12 de junio de 2017 | | | | | | | |

New challenges: Campaign for Binding Treaty on transnational corporations and human rights receiving concrete content proposals

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The pressure in the framework of the UN in favor of guiding principles on business and human rights is quite strong, said Karin Nansen, Chair at Friends of the Earth International. “But we have seen that these guiding principles don’t work in reality and the will never work, because they are voluntary principles, and it is up to corporations to follow them or not”.

“We have been insisting on the urgent need to have a legally binding treaty to make justice, to finally end with the impunity that transnational corporations have nowadays”, Nansen said to Real World Radio. For this reason, the environmental federation is making concrete contributions on the contents for a new treaty that will start being negotiated in October, also in the framework of the UN.

Last week, the environmental activist led in Geneva, Switzerland, a FoEI delegation that followed closely the 35th session of the UN Human Rights Council and participated in the parallel activities organized by social movements and organizations that are part of the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity. The goal of this delegation in Geneva was to continue working for a binding treaty that forces companies to respect human rights.

The Intergovernmental Working Group of the UN Human Rights Council, which is analyzing the creation of a new legal instrument, will start negotiations in October, based on a concrete text. Nansen said to Real World Radio that FoEI, together with organizations member of the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, will develop proposals for the contents of treaty. Regarding this, she said that one of FoEI´s strengths lies in the knowledge and experiences of communities that are suffering the attacks of transnational corporations at grassroots level, but also in the contributions by experts, who, based on the perspectives of the people, understand the legal aspects to take into account.

The environmental activist warned that human rights violations are intensifying and the persecution against those who defend their territories and the rights of the people is worsening. “We see how the livelihoods are being destroyed, we see how environmental activists, human rights defenders, but also the defenders of the territories, and the defenders of peoples rights, are being persecuted by the corporations. (...) As environmental justice organizations we cannot allow for that to continue. We understand we need to stop this impunity and finally the transnational corporations need to be judged for their violations”.

The Chair of FoEI made an assessment of the week-long of work in Geneva and the side events where, for instance, representatives of communities and social movements of several countries continued to ratify that the voluntary guiding principles have failed to stop human rights violations perpetrated by companies. With reference to this, Nansen strongly criticized the role of Israeli water company Mekorot which continues violating the human right to water of the Palestinian people.

“It needs to be said and denounced internationally. We in FOEI stand in solidarity with the Palestinian people”, against the daily violations to their human rights. “It’s something that the international community cannot allow to continue”.

Communities don´t have any global instrument to resort to in order to demand justice for the atrocities perpetrated by transnational corporations, said Nansen, and highlighted that it is time for a new binding treaty to address this need.

Imagen: Friends of the Earth International

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