An African Response to the Revised Draft Treaty on Business & Human Rights
- Lee-Anne Bruce
On 6 October, CALS and ACCA will be hosting a webinar to formulate an African response to the current draft of the Binding Treaty on Business & Human Rights
On 6 October 2020, the African Coalition for African Accountability (ACCA) and the Centre for Applied legal Studies (CALS) will host a webinar on the binding treaty on business and human rights. The purpose of this webinar is to unpack the second revised draft treaty from an African perspective. The webinar will be an opportunity for Africans to discuss the draft, highlight its strengths and weaknesses and reflect on the prospects of galvanising state support for its adoption. Bringing together government representatives, academics and civil society activists, the webinar will provide a platform to discuss the draft treaty and make recommendations in anticipation of the next session of negotiations.
In June 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted resolution 26/9, sponsored by the governments of South Africa and Ecuador, in which it decided “to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, whose mandate shall be to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises”. The call and the resultant draft treaty have found support in the global south, which is the host to the majority of multinational enterprises.
It is of utmost importance that a binding treaty on business and human rights that adequately accounts for the African experience is adopted. While the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights (UNGPs) – the so-called Ruggie Principles – are an essential international framework to advance corporate accountability, they do not fully reflect the experiences and concerns of African civil society and are currently failing to change lived realities on the ground. It is therefore crucial that African civil society embraces the treaty process and builds collective power by advocating both at the regional and international level for the adoption of a legally binding instrument on Business and Human rights.
On 6 August 2020, the Second Revised Draft of the treaty was released. After a zero draft in 2018 and a first revised draft in 2019, the current draft will mark an important step in the negotiations and hopefully will pave the road towards the adoption of a legally binding treaty on Business and Human Rights. The next session of the intergovernmental negotiations will take place in Geneva on 26-30 October 2020.
Agenda for webinar to formulate an African response to the BHR Treaty
Welcoming remarks: Tshepo Madlingozi, Director of CALS, member of Steering Committee the African Coalition Corporate Accountability
Moderator: Abiodun Baiyewu, Co-Chair of the Steering Committee of the African Coalition for Corporate Accountability, Executive Director of Global Rights Nigeria
‘Reflection on the Second Revised Draft of the Treaty on Business and Human Rights’
– Professor David Bilchitz, Professor of Fundamental Rights and Constitutional Law at the University of Johannesburg and Director of the South African Institute for Advanced Constitutional, Public, Human Rights and International Law (SAIFAC)
‘Assessing the Second revised draft from an African civil society perspective’
– Arnold Kwesi, Project Coordinator at the Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability (UCCA), Member of ACCA Working Group on the Treaty
‘The Second revised draft from a gender perspective’
– Felogene Anumo, Building Feminist Economies at the Association for Women’s Rights in Development (AWID) and Feminists for a Binding Treaty (#F4BT)
‘Pushing for the adoption of a binding treaty: The Balance of forces that have a bearing on the treaty process and prospects for adoption’
– Professor Githu Muigai, Associate Professor of Law at the University of Nairobi and Member of the United Nations Working Group on the issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises.
‘Pushing for the adoption of a binding treaty: the role of African governments in the treaty process and prospects for adoption’
– Gladice Pickering, Deputy Executive Director, Ministry of Justice, Republic of Namibia.
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