Anne van Schaik, Friends of the Earth Europe’s corporate accountability campaigner, attended the recent week of negotiations in Geneva for a UN Treaty on business and human rights, and writes here about the outcomes and the unhelpful role of the European Union.
Monday 23 October will mark the start of the negotiations at the UN Human Rights Council in Geneva on a binding treaty for businesses in relation to human rights.
This is a historic opportunity to ensure that affected communities, Human and Environmental Rights Defenders and others who are victim of corporate abuse have enhanced access to justice.
Over the last few years, many issues have brought people into the streets in their thousands to demonstrate against the dodgy transatlantic trade deals TTIP and CETA. But perhaps the most contentious has been the issue of ‘corporate courts’ proposed for the frozen EU-US trade deal, TTIP – in trade jargon, known as an Investor-State-Dispute-Settlement (ISDS) mechanism.
The European Commission today released new proposals for how the European Union deals with globalization issues.
Paul de Clerck from Friends of the Earth Europe reacted to the 'Harnessing Globalisation' paper:
The seeds have been sown for an international agreement that could put human rights before corporate interests, according to Friends of the Earth Europe. The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) met this week in Geneva to discuss a set of legally-binding rules for transnational corporations in relation to human rights known as "the UN treaty".
90,000 citizens called on the European Union to support a binding treaty on business and human rights today, and to participate in international discussion on the issue in Geneva on the 24th October.
Foreign affairs ministers from across the EU today published their conclusions on business and human rights. Friends of the Earth Europe welcomes a reference to the UN process to establish binding rules that would force multinational corporations to respect human rights laws , but calls on the EU to start actively supporting this UN process.
Last week, several European newspapers published revelations about a proposal to roll out highly controversial corporate tribunals across Europe. 
Activists from the Council of Popular and Indigenous Organizations of Honduras (COPINH) – the indigenous group that was led by murdered environmental activist Berta Caceres – are calling for the suspension of European aid to Honduras until human rights in the country are respected.
Europe needs to toughen-up its regulations for how investors deal with environmental and social risks, according to Friends of the Earth Europe and Global Witness.