A step closer to justice for those affected by transnational corporations’ activities Human Rights Council 37th session

Geneva: March 16, 2018 – The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity (Global Campaign) (1) welcomes the presentation and acceptance of the report on the 3rd session of the Open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (2) in the United Nations (UN) Human Rights Council 37th session.


Press release by

Delegates of the Global Campaign from social movements, trade unions, communities affected by transnational corporations ́ (TNCs ́) activities, and civil society organizations were present at the UN in Geneva during the Human Rights Council 37th session to continue the Global Campaign’s involvement with this historic UN undertaking, and to contribute to the ongoing process leading to the 4th Session of the OEIGWG.

The report of the 3rd session of the OEIGWG was presented by the Ecuadorian delegation in Geneva, including a video message from former Ecuadorian ambassador in Geneva Mrs Maria Fernanda Espinosa and current Minister of Foreign Affairs. Countries like South Africa, Namibia, Palestine, Bolivia, Mozambique, Algeria, Cuba and Azerbaijan, among others, strongly supported the report and urged all governments to engage constructively in the process. Mexico, Brazil and the representative of the EU member states expressed their interest in the process, and their will to engage in the informal consultations that will lead to the presentation of a Zero Draft in June 2018.

Rachmi Hertanti, Executive Director of Indonesia for Global Justice commented:

“We are a step closer to justice. There is a sense of growing support for this historical treaty. Political pressure from social movements, NGOs and communities affected by TNCs’ human rights violations is essential to overcoming obstructive tactics used by several state and non-state actors. This includes our physical presence and advocacy work inside the Palais des Nations, but also in the national capitals. We are ready to continue working in the coming months towards the 4th session of the OEIGW”.

Members of parliament from more than 20 countries and the European Parliament (3), as well as more than 700 civil society organizations have indicated strong public support for the process.

Alberto Villarreal from Friends of the Earth Latin America and Caribbean, also present in Geneva said:

“Now that formal negotiations on a zero draft of the treaty will start during the 4th session in October, it is encouraging to see a growing number of governments engaging constructively. It is now up to Friends of the Earth groups, social movements and ally organizations to ensure regionally nationally and internationally, that the starting point for negotiations is the best possible text, one that takes into account the voices of affected peoples. We will keep pressing for the IGWG to fulfil its mandate (given by Resolution 26/9) within a reasonable timeframe, instead of dragging on for decades with no concrete results.”

Dr. Monica Vargas, researcher at the Transnational Institute and a central facilitator of the Global Campaign, stated “Corporate self-regulation is not enough. Current measures to prevent human rights violations and abuses in the operations of TNCs are not sufficient. While TNCs benefit from a wide range of investor protection mechanisms and loopholes in international law, the people who lose their lives, livelihoods and territories because of TNCs’ activities are often repeatedly denied justice. Recent development like the French law on multinationals' duty of vigilance and the ruling from the European court of Justice declaring that Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) incompatible with EU law (4) demonstrate that it is possible to build a global governance system that recognizes the primacy of human rights over trade and investment law."

According to Iván González, from the Trade Unions Confederation of the Americas, “the Global Campaign is fully committed to contributing to this process with proposals based on the experiences of affected communities and social movements, which included a treaty proposed during the 3rd session. (5) The Global Campaign looks forward to participating in informal consultations that will start in March and lead to the presentation of a Draft Zero by the OEIGWG in June 2018”.

The 4th session of the OEIGWG will be held in the Palais des Nations in Geneva from October 15-19, 2018. The Global Campaign will organise a Week of Peoples Mobilisation, as during the previous three sessions. Activities both inside and outside the Palais des Nations will bring together social movements, trade unions, communities affected by TNCs ́ activities, and civil society organizations who support greater accountability for transnational corporations.


(1) This Press release is from the Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity (Global Campaign), a network of over 200 social movements, civil society organisations, trade unions, and affected communities resisting land grabs, extractive mining, exploitative wages and environmental destruction, particularly in Africa, Asia and Latin America. Website: https://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/
(2) The Open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights is a result of resolution 26/9 adopted by the Human Rights Council in June 2014 http://www.ohchr.org/EN/HRBodies/HRC/WGTransCorp/Pages/IGWGOnTNC.aspx
(3) For the list of signatories of the Inter-Parliamentary initiative for a UN Binding Treaty on transnational corporations with respect to human rights see http://bindingtreaty.org/
(4) Ruling of the Court of Justice of the EU available here: https://curia.europa.eu/jcms/upload/docs/application/pdf/2018-03/cp180026en.pdf
(5) You can access the proposal here: https://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/wp- content/uploads/2017/10/Treaty_draft-EN1.pdf


To arrange interviews or further information Sol Trumbo Vila (English, Spanish) soltrumbovila@tni.org
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