OEIGWG has come in from the cold. Will the EU do the same?
Position paper on the Zero Draft of a binding treaty presented by the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Companies and Other Business Enterprises
In July, the Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises, chaired by Ecuador, published the zero draft of the text of a treaty on business and human rights. This draft is the basis for negotiations in Geneva from 15–19 October 2018. The text represents a good first basis for further negotations among UN member states, and it goes some way toward closing protection gaps, especially in global supply chains. Helpfully, it builds on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and focuses on the most urgent areas in this field: the prevention of human rights abuses and access to effective remedy for victims. Rather than elevating corporations to direct subjects of international law, it bolsters the existing architecture of human rights protection: the state duty to protect, enforced by civil and criminal liability. These positive developments compared with earlier documents from the treaty process should be recognized by the UN member states and especially by the European Union. Further rounds of negotiations must now achieve the necessary precision, ironing out of contradicitons, and further development of the text.