The regions exhort the United Nations to push for a treaty to ensure that transnational corporations respect human rights

At the ORU-Fogar assembly on November 30, a declaration was approved, urging the United Nations to draft a binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights. In the coming weeks, the organization will encourage representatives of regional, intermediate and federal governments around the world, as well as the geographic and thematic networks of these levels of government, to sign a declaration as part of a campaign led by local governments, civil society and parliaments of different countries.

There is currently a growing tension between the globalized economy and human rights. The problems stem from the existence of strong asymmetries between companies, economic power and people and, in many cases, between companies and states. These asymmetries are at the root of situations of abuse, crimes and human rights violations or, in general, block access to justice for the populations concerned.

Given this situation, this declaration wants to show its support for the establishment of a binding treaty that regulates the action of transnational corporations and other business enterprises in the field of human rights and fundamental freedoms. The representatives of the regional governments therefore urge the central governments to get involved in the negotiation, adoption and ratification of this instrument of international law. The manifesto, in any case, goes beyond a petition, when the signatories show their commitment to incorporate into their legislation and public policies the provisions of the binding treaty on business and human rights that is being negotiated, once it has been adopted and has entered into force. And, during the period in which there is no binding international legal instrument, regional governments undertake to promote, through the public policies of their governments, responsible economic, social and environmental actions, and respect for human rights, by companies headquartered in their respective territories.

 

Considerations :

1. Reiterating our commitment to human rights and fundamental freedoms, as well as international human rights instruments and conventions promoted by the United Nations, the International Labour Organization and international intergovernmental organizations of a regional nature.

2. Reaffirming our commitment to Agenda 2030 and stressing the importance of human rights for the achievement of the sustainable development goals set out therein.

3. Recalling that the primary obligation to promote human rights and fundamental freedoms lies with States, and that they must protect against human rights abuses by third parties, ensure respect and implementation of international human rights law, and educate public officials and citizens about their rights.

4. Reiterating the commitment of regional and intermediate governments, as well as the federal states, to promote human rights and to address global challenges, through direct action in our territories, as well as through our active participation in global governance spaces.

5. Recognizing, likewise, the importance of the role of civil society actors in the promotion, defense and exercise of human rights and fundamental freedoms.

6. Recalling that companies, as specialized organs of society, must comply with the law and respect human rights in their activities, even if, to date, progress in improving the economic, social and environmental responsibility of business has been limited.

7. The UN Guidelines on Business and Human Rights, approved by the Human Rights Council in 2011, are a first step towards addressing and preventing the negative impacts that business activities can have on human rights.

8. Considering as a very positive development the Resolution 26/09, of 2014, of the United Nations Human Rights Council, which established the intergovernmental working group with the mandate to elaborate a legally binding instrument to regulate, within the framework of international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

 

Demonstrations :

1. We support the establishment of a binding treaty to regulate the actions of transnational corporations and other business enterprises in regard to human rights and fundamental freedoms.

2. We urge the governments of states to become involved in the negotiation, adoption and ratification of this instrument of international law, and we commit ourselves to influence the respective governments to do so.

3. We express our commitment to incorporate into our legislation and public policies the provisions of the binding treaty on business and human rights that is currently being negotiated, once it has been adopted and has entered into force.

4. Finally, as long as there is no binding international legal instrument in the area of business and human rights, we commit ourselves to promote, through the public policies of our governments, responsible economic, social and environmental action and respect for human rights by the companies that have their headquarters and/or economic activity in our respective territories.

 

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