PHM-Exch> EU attempts to block advances in treaty negotiatioin to regulate TNCs and other businesses

Claudio Schuftan cschuftan at
Wed Nov 1 07:05:09 PDT 2017

From: Flavio Valente <Valente at>

As   you are probably aware we had last week the third session of the Open
Ended Working Group on the Human Rights Treaty to regulate Transnational
Corporations and Other Businesses. It was an uphill battle but the
movements of communities affected by TNC crimes, with the support of a
broad coalition of civil society movements and organizations, managed to
defeat the blocking maneuvers, in particular in the part of the EU
delegation, and move the process in the negotiation mode.

However the EU has already started to make new moves towards attempting to
block the process. The EU representative in the ongoing meeting of the
African Human Rights Commission made veiled criticism to the South African
Mission in Geneva, which has been one of the strongest proponents of the

Binding human rights instrument, and has the clear intention to mobilize
African states and ngos against the treaty. They are saying that the
process has unfortunately been politicized by an insistence on TNCs only
'which would cover only 7% of companies'.

It is very important that all civil society organizations and the
commission be informed that the EU has systematically tried to block the
process, one way or the other, defending instead the utilization of the
toothless voluntary UN guiding principles on business and human rights.

Please refer to the attached press release which summarizes the results of
the intense week of debates in Geneva.

In case you need any further clarification don’t hesitate to contact me at
valent at, and or suarez-franco at

Chers amis,

Comme vous le savez probablement, nous avons eu la semaine dernière la
troisième session du Groupe de travail à composition non limitée sur le
traité des droits de l'homme pour réglementer les sociétés transnationales
et autres entreprises. Ce fut une bataille difficile, mais les mouvements
des communautés touchées par les crimes des CNT, soutenus par une large
coalition de mouvements et d'organisations de la société civile, ont réussi
à faire échouer les manœuvres de blocage, en particulier dans la délégation
de l'UE, et mettre le processus dans le mode de négociation. Cependant,
l'UE a déjà commencé à prendre de nouvelles mesures pour essayer de bloquer
le processus. Le représentant de l'UE à la réunion en cours de la
Commission africaine des droits de l'homme a fait des critiques voilées à
la Mission sud-africaine à Genève, qui a été l'un des plus fervents
défenseurs de la Instrument contraignant en matière de droits de l'homme,
et a clairement l'intention de mobiliser les États africains et les ONG
contre le traité. Ils disent que le processus a malheureusement été
politisé par une insistance sur les sociétés transnationales seulement «qui
ne couvriraient que 7% des entreprises». Il est très important que toutes
les organisations de la société civile et la Commission soient informées
que l'UE a systématiquement tenté de bloquer le processus, d'une manière ou
d'une autre, en défendant l'utilisation des principes directeurs
volontaires des Nations Unies sur les entreprises et les droits humains.
Veuillez vous référer au communiqué de presse ci-joint qui résume les
résultats de la semaine intense de débats à Genève. Si vous avez besoin de
plus de précisions, n'hésitez pas à me contacter à valent at, et ou
suarez-franco at

  Tous les meilleurs


Querid at s amig at s

Como probablemente sabrán, tuvimos la semana pasada la tercera sesión del
Grupo de Trabajo de Composición Abierta sobre el Tratado de Derechos
Humanos para regular las empresas transnacionales y otros negocios. Fue una
batalla cuesta arriba, pero los movimientos de las comunidades afectadas
por crímenes de TNC, con el apoyo de una amplia coalición de movimientos y
organizaciones de la sociedad civil, lograron vencer las maniobras de
bloqueo, en particular en la parte de la delegación de la UE, y cambiar el
proceso en el modo de negociación. Sin embargo, la UE ya ha comenzado a
hacer nuevos movimientos para intentar bloquear el proceso. El
representante de la UE en la reunión en curso de la Comisión Africana de
Derechos Humanos hizo una crítica velada a la Misión sudafricana en
Ginebra, que ha sido uno de los principales defensores de la Instrumento
vinculante de derechos humanos, y tiene la clara intención de movilizar a
los estados y ONG africanos contra el tratado. Dicen que desafortunadamente
el proceso se ha politizado por una insistencia en las ETN solamente 'que
cubriría solo el 7% de las empresas'. Es muy importante que todas las
organizaciones de la sociedad civil y la comisión estén informadas de que
la UE ha intentado sistemáticamente bloquear el proceso, de una manera u
otra, defendiendo la utilización de los desdentados principios voluntarios
de la ONU sobre las empresas y los derechos humanos. Consulte el comunicado
de prensa adjunto que resume los resultados de la intensa semana de debates
en Ginebra. En caso de que necesite más aclaraciones, no dude en ponerse en
contacto conmigo en valent at, y en suarez-franco at




The treaty on transnational corporations and human rights enters
“negotiation mode”.

Geneva: November 1, 2017 – The Global Campaign (1) welcomes the end of a
successful week of intense work moving towards decisive negotiations on a
binding treaty on transnational corporations (TNCs) and human rights,
despite challenges from the EU with support from the US.

More than 100 states and over 200 representatives of social movements,
trade unions and civil society organizations were at the UN in Geneva
during the third session of the UN inter governmental working group (2),
from October 23-27, 2017. Members of parliaments from more than 20
countries and the European Parliament (3), as well as more than 700 civil
society organizations have indicated strong public support for the process.

The UN working group, tasked with elaborating a treaty on TNCs and human
rights was due to finish its third session on October 27, when a
representative for the United States – which has not participated in the
three-year process after it voted against the resolution 26/9 in 2014,
saying this “binding treaty will not be binding for those who voted against
it” – unexpectedly joined a key meeting and suggested the working group
would need a new mandate from the Human Rights Council to continue its
work. However, the Secretariat of the Human Rights Council confirmed that
the working group does not need a new resolution and that it will go
forward with its work until a treaty is negotiated.

The closing Recommendations of the Chair-Rapporteur of the working group,
Ambassador Guillaume Long, Permanent Representative of Ecuador in Geneva,
committed to a road-map for the negotiation process for the fourth working
group session in 2018 and to further annual sessions.

The Draft Report and Conclusions were approved by consensus and will be
submitted for final approval to the UNHRC in March 2018. Furthermore, it
was agreed that the Elements paper towards a Treaty proposed by Ecuador in
this third session remains open for further comment until the end of
February and will then, together with the outcomes from the 2015 and 2016
sessions, form the basis for developing the zero draft treaty for the
fourth working group session in 2018.

“This is a victory for supporters of the process towards a treaty.
Political pressure from social movements, NGOs and communities affected by
TNCs’ human rights violations, was essential to overcoming obstructive
tactics used by several parties, especially the EU,” said Lynne Davis,
LaVia Campesina.

“Current measures to prevent human rights violations and abuses in the
operations of TNCs are not sufficient. While TNCs benefit from a wide range
of investor protection mechanisms and loopholes in international law, the
people who lose their lives, livelihoods and territories because of TNCs’
activities are often repeatedly denied justice,” according to Gonzalo
Berron, a researcher at the Transnational Institute.

"Corporate self-regulation is not enough. Human rights defenders
confronting TNCs’ operations are being killed, such as Berta Caceres from
Honduras and many other cases raised at the UN this week. This process
towards a legally-binding treaty is urgently needed. This is the message
which communities affected by TNCs’ operations are bringing to their
governments and to the UN process,” according to Apollin Koagne Zoupet from
Cameroon, representing Friends of the Earth International (FOEI).

As demonstrated during the last three sessions, The Global Campaign is
fully committed to contributing to this process with proposals based on the
experiences of affected communities and social movements. Mary Ann Manahan,
of the World March of Women-Philippines commented “The proposal for a
Treaty on Transnational Corporations and their Supply Chains with Regard to
Human Rights (4) presented by the Global Campaign is a very significant
text to move forward negotiations between the States towards a draft Treaty
during the coming year.


(1) This Press release is from the Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples
Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity (Global Campaign),
a network of over 200 social movements and affected communities resisting
land grabs, extractive mining, exploitative wages and environmental
destruction, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Website:

(2) The Open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) on
transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to
human rights is a result of resolution 26/9 adopted by the Human Rights
Council in June 2014

(3) For the list of signatories of the Inter-Parliamentary initiative for a
UN Binding Treaty on transnational corporations with respect to human
rights see

(4) You can access the proposal here:



To arrange interviews or further information

Sol Trumbo Vila (English, Spanish)

soltrumbovila at

+31 610172065
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