June 2014 marked a historical milestone in the resettlement of Transnational Corporation’s (TNCs) regulation back onto international agendas. The UN Human Rights Council established an Open Ended Inter-governmental Working Group (OEIGWG) for the development of a legally binding international instrument on TNCs and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, in order to put an end to the global loopholes and ensure that companies are fully accountable for human rights violations and environmental crimes. The overcoming of current voluntary frameworks of social corporate responsibility represents a key steppingstone in order to make global economy fit for people´s rights and wellbeing and stop corporate impunity.
Whereas the OEIGWG will hold its third annual session on October 23-27, 2017 in order to continue the negotiations on the new instrument, the under signatories, as worldwide parliamentarians:
- Highlight that our planet needs the Binding Treaty to balance the unfair consequences of unregulated globalisation, which has generated asymmetries of power between States, communities, individuals and corporations in terms of access to justice and the protection of people’s human rights, especially in the poorest regions of the world;
- Applaud, therefore, the initiative of Ecuador and South Africa, and the efforts showed by other countries which are supporting the process towards the achievement of an international Binding Treaty to overcome transnational TNC and other business enterprises’ impunity;
- Welcome the open and participatory process that is being developed by the OEIGWG in which not only States, but also international organisations, civil society organisations, affected people, business sector, scholars and other relevant stakeholders are involved;
- Stress that the future Treaty should create specific mechanisms that strengthen both national judicial systems, as well as international cooperation and monitoring to reinforce State responsibility in providing victims’ access to remedy and prevent the reproduction of violations of human rights derived from TNCs operations. We stress the need for binding principles that protect human rights and guarantee corporate responsibility by means, among others, of legally enforceable due diligence obligations;
- Insist that this Treaty must play an important role in addressing worker’s concerns rooted in labour rights violations perpetrated by TNCs in global value chains. We share ITUC’s view that enforceability of labour standards is a sine qua non condition to restore imbalances between highly privileged investor rights and peoples’ labour and human rights.
Therefore we urge states, -and regional organisations such as the European Union-, to actively engage in this UN process and to work towards an effective and legally binding international instrument on TNCs and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, in order to ensure that people’s dignity, as enshrined by universal political, economic, social and cultural rights, is prioritised and guaranteed worldwide over private profits.