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African civil society continues to reiterate the need for a binding treaty

- Lawyers for Human Rights

Civil society organisations are in Geneva to continue advocating for a binding treaty on business and human rights and for meaningful participation from states

This week, United Nations member states will gather in Geneva for the 8th session of negotiations dedicated to developing a treaty to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.

This is the 8th year of discussion and engagement led by an inter-governmental working group constituted by the Human Rights Council through resolution 26/9. Although the current third revised draft is the same draft from the 2021 negotiations, we believe that the ongoing process is essential to ensuring that there is regulation of the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights and to ensure that corporations have a binding responsibility to respect human rights globally – and particularly in the global South.

The Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS) together with Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) and our funders at Fastenaktion is attending the 8th session of the inter-governmental working group. The proposed treaty builds on the non-binding United Nations Guiding Principles (UNGPs) and National Action Plans, and seeks to ensure that human rights are protected and transnational corporations and states are bound by an international binding instrument and not are mere UNGPs which is currently a non-obligatory framework.

The ongoing negotiations in 2022 present an opportunity for African governments to shape a strong framework that ensures effective access to remedies for victims of rights violations, advance justice in Africa, as well as ensuring that the standards of respect and prevention of human rights are mandatory.

Our stance is that State parties, and particularly African State parties, should continue to support this critical process to develop a legally binding instrument at the multilateral level. The envisioned Treaty will level the playing field and avoid fragmented approaches to corporate responsibility that allow for abuse.

We encourage African State Parties to meaningfully engage in the negotiation process this week to develop a treaty that effectively addresses the common global challenges around prevention of corporate abuses and violations, addresses rising cases of corporate capture, and ensures effective access to remedies for victims of rights violations.

Support for these negotiations was generously provided by Fastenaktion.

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