One of the most impacting meetings took place Thursday, when more than 100 people filled a lecture hall, organized by the coalition Stop Corporate Impunity, to hear an array of speakers on a panel called “Confronting the Power of Transnational Corporations and Unpacking the Global Investment, Trade and Financial Regimes.”
The massive concentration and growth of corporate power poses a major threat to what remains of public services, highlighting the ever-deepening crisis of democracy, and the urgent need for people to reclaim the state.
The time has come to unite the hundreds of struggles, campaigns, networks, movements and organizations that are combating the different ways transnational corporations are appropriating our destinies, natural heritage and rights in every corner of the planet.
Despite the track record of systemic and systematic violations of the range of human rights, the efforts to establish legally binding obligations and an instrument of enforcement within the UN system have been defeated by determined corporate opposition. The current Guiding Principles developed by the former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General, John Ruggie, do not create "any new international legal obligations" and are therefore non-binding.
On June 26, 2014, under the leadership of Ecuador and South Africa, the UN Human Rights Council passed landmark resolution 26/9,2 establishing an open-ended inter - governmental working group (IGWG)3 that is mandated to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (hereinafter, the Treaty). It was a tight vote: the resolution was supported by 20 states, mainly from Africa and Asia, and opposed by 14, including the United States and the European Union, with 13 abstentions. The resolution strikes a nerve — and there is much expectation around it.
An international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) has the potential to substantially promote the protection and fulfilment of human rights in the long-term and on a global scale. It can contribute to ending the impunity that TNCs routinely enjoy for their human rights violations, especially in countries of the Global South, and to ensuring access to justice for the victims of their activities.
The Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity & for Peoples Sovereignty, an international coalition of more than 200 organisations, social movements and networks convenes to a press conference Thursday 10th March 2016 12.30 pm Place des Nations, Geneva