20 April, 2023Negotiations on a binding UN business and human rights treaty are already nine years in the making, with more rounds are to come. After the latest negotiations in October last year, global unions have provided written input stressing an increased prominence of labour rights and a strong liability mechanism.
Global unions are pushing for a legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
In a written submission, the global unions argue for a clearer role of labour rights in the Treaty, particularly clarifying the type of liability applicable to negligence. The global unions believe that there is a risk of losing much-needed detail to truly achieve accountability for corporate human rights harms.
“Negotiations this year are crucial. There was a strong effort last year to negotiate a watered-down text, where the idea of a framework convention was introduced, which attempts to dilute the substance of the Treaty. We stand against this,”
says IndustriALL assistant general secretary Kemal Özkan.
In response to the discussion from some countries to re-open the debate on the scope, excluding state-owned enterprises, the global unions are clear that any deviation that would weaken the transnational coverage represents a major
Say the global unions:
“Fundamentally, we believe that the approach taken in the third revised draft of focusing the operational provisions of the LBI on crossborder activities of business enterprises while maintaining a broad scope, which includes transnational and other enterprises, responds to the mandate given by Human Rights Council Resolution 26/9 of 2014.”
“In this context, the coming EU directive on human rights due diligence will play an important role, as it gives the EU a clear mandate and direction in the negotiations,”
says Kemal Özkan.
“Our next step is to reach out to our affiliates to approach their governments and we will take joint action with industriAll Europe to address EU authorities about their position.”