UN Human Rights Council paves way to historic treaty on business and human rights

8 March 2018

Today, the UN Human Rights Council discussed the report by the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) [1] regarding a binding treaty on business and human rights. Civil society organisations and countries, including the EU, supported the presentation and called for the continuation of the process. This means the 4th session of the IGWG will take place in October, as scheduled.

Anne van Schaik, corporate accountability campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "We welcome the EU’s statement on the UN treaty. Thanks to pressure by civil society, affected people and many UN member states, the UN treaty is very much alive and will soon ensure justice for all people who have been victims of corporate crimes."

On the position of France, Juliette Renaud, corporate accountability campaigner at Amis de la Terre/Friends of the Earth France commented: "Pushed by a strong mobilisation of civil society and almost 250 French parliamentarians, France’s commitment must be reinforced through concrete content proposals for an ambitious first draft of the treaty, in line with the pioneering French law on multinationals' duty of vigilance. Northern countries, home of many transnational corporations, should be proactive in the creation of a UN treaty."

Rolf Schipper, campaign leader at Milieudefensie/Friends of the Earth Netherlands said: "We are happy that Minister Sigrid Kaag advocated for Human Rights in the Dutch Parliament and that the Netherlands will continue to push the UN Treaty negotiations, including the 4th meeting of the Intergovernmental Working Group."

In June 2018 the Chair-Rapporteur will present the draft treaty. The next session of the IGWG will take place October 15 - 19 in Geneva.


[1] Official website of the Intergovernmental Working Group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/WGTransCorp/Pages/IGWGOnTNC.aspx

France, Netherlands