Tag Archives: Corporate Abuses

[From the web] Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: FIDH Launches Updated Guide for Victims and NGOs on Accountability and Redress Mechanisms -FIDH.org

Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: FIDH Launches Updated Guide for Victims and NGOs on Accountability and Redress Mechanisms

fidhAs the “EU Roadmap to Business and Human Rights Conference” opens today in Amsterdam, FIDH is pleased to announce the online publication of an updated version of its “Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: A Guide for Victims and NGOs on Recourse Mechanisms“

With this Guide, FIDH seeks to provide a practical tool for victims and their representatives, NGOs and other civil society groups, including unions, social movements, and activists, to seek justice and obtain reparation for victims of human rights abuses involving multinational corporations.

The 600-plus page Guide explores the different avenues available to victims, including judicial and non-judicial recourse mechanisms. It focuses primarily on violations committed in third countries by or with the support of a transnational corporation, its subsidiaries or its commercial partners.

Read full article @www.fidh.org


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[Call for endorsement] Asia Pacific Civil Society’s Demands for the Legally Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights

Unity Statement

Asia Pacific Civil Society’s Demands for the Legally Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights

This statement originates from the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on the Legally Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights, May 1-3, 2015 Chiang Mai, Thailand, co-convened by the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development (APWLD)

WE, the undersigned members of Asia Pacific civil society, representing different constituencies, movements and organisations, recognize, experience, and resist the human rights violations committed by transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business entities.

We strongly protest the impact of direct and indirect violations by TNCs and other business entities, which destroy lives, cultures, livelihoods, the environment, and profoundly affect women, children, peasants, workers, and indigenous peoples.

We welcome UN Human Rights Council Resolution 26/91, which mandates an intergovernmental working group to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

We collectively unite to demand corporate accountability for human rights violations and to redress the grave imbalance between corporate power and the power of people.

We strongly demand that our governments protect, respect and fulfil human rights and commit to enact effective laws for corporate accountability. We encourage all governments to actively participate in the development of a legally binding treaty on business and human rights in the UN Human Rights Council.

As peoples and CSOs, we demand an end to the human rights violations perpetrated with impunity by TNCs and other business entities, often with the complicity or inaction of States.

We make the following demands for a legally binding treaty:

  • The adoption of an expansive definition of transnational corporations which encompasses parent companies, subsidiaries and contractors and ensures comprehensive supply chain accountability.
  • No corporate participation in the process of elaborating and adopting the treaty. The private sector has actively resisted legal accountability for the impact of its actions and
  • The inclusion of a provision that explicitly prohibits corporate capture of political processes, including collusion and complicity between governments and corporate actors. At a minimum, this should take the form of a requirement that there is no conflict of interest in government approval of corporate sector projects;
  • The inclusion of a provision requiring transparency and financial disclosure from transnational corporations that should be made available to the public consistent with the public right to access information regarding private operations that have public impact, including for projects financed by international financial institutions;
  • An end to impunity for the human rights violations caused by transnational corporations, including but not limited to providing for criminal liability for corporations, their employees, and governments and public officials complicit in the unlawful activity of transnational corporations;
  • Accountability for the direct, indirect, short-term and long-term impacts of corporate activity, including remote, “down-stream”, or cumulative negative impacts;
  • Affirmation of the primacy of governments’ human rights obligations under the UN Charter and international treaties and customary laws over obligations in trade and investment agreements.
  • A rejection of coercive enforcement mechanisms under trade and investment agreements which are incompatible with the human rights obligations of governments, including Investor-State Dispute Settlement.
  • Provisions should be progressive and ensure no regression from existing international human rights standards, including core ILO Conventions and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which recognizes the entitlement of women to substantive equality with men;
  • The inclusion of provisions recognizing the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) as a corollary of their internationally-recognized right to selfdetermination; for non-indigenous peoples, consent must be secured through a direct and participatory process of consultation that respects the right to participation.
  • An explicit prohibition of government or corporate retaliation against human rights defenders, in line with the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognized Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, including through the suppression of protests, surveillance, and other forms of intimidation and harm, noting the specific vulnerabilities of women human rights defenders, which requires sensitivity to the particular pressures and challenges that they face including sexual harassment and intimidation and criminalisation.”
  • An explicit prohibition of the use of State security, military or paramilitary forces to secure corporate projects.
  • The establishment of an international tribunal or mechanism to receive, investigate, and adjudicate complaints of human rights violations committed by TNCs. The decisions of this mechanism should be based on the obligations of governments and businesses in relation to international human rights standards and gender equality and should be legally binding.

Agreed on by the undersigned members of Asia Pacific civil society.

Endorsed by:

SENTRO ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, Philippines

Tebtebba – Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education,

International Rivers, International

Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, Philippines

Asha Parivar, India

National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), India

Socialist Party of India

National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), Sri Lanka

Citizen News Service (CNS), India

IBON International, International

Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Thailand

Pesticide Action Network- Asia and the Pacific (PANAP), Malaysia

Community Resource Centre (CRC), Thailand

The Philippinne Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippines

Alyansa Tigil Mina (ATM), Philippines

Indonesia for Global Justice, Indonesia

Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC), Cambodia

POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), India

Tavoyan Women’s Union, Cambodia

Solidaritus Perempuan (SP), Indonesia

Tanggol Bayi (Defend Women), Philippines

Tanggol Kalikasan, Philippines

Center for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia

Shwe Gas Movement (SGM), Cambodia

Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)

Leitana Neihan Women’s Development Agency (LNWDA), Papua New Guinea

The online endorsement form is available here:


as well as here:

Unity Statement: Asia Pacific Civil Society’s Demands for the Legally Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights

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[From the web] UN experts voice concern over adverse impact of free trade and investment agreements on human rights -OHCHR

UN experts voice concern over adverse impact of free trade and investment agreements on human rights

GENEVA 2 June 2015 – A number of free trade and investment agreements, such as the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (TTIP), are currently being negotiated. A group of UN experts* have issued the following statement to express concern about the secret nature of drawing up and negotiating many of these agreements and the potential adverse impact of these agreements on human rights:

“While trade and investment agreements can create new economic opportunities, we draw attention to the potential detrimental impact these treaties and agreements may have on the enjoyment of human rights as enshrined in legally binding instruments, whether civil, cultural, economic, political or social. Our concerns relate to the rights to life, food, water and sanitation, health, housing, education, science and culture, improved labour standards, an independent judiciary, a clean environment and the right not to be subjected to forced resettlement.


As also underlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, States must ensure that trade and investment agreements do not constrain their ability to meet their human rights obligations (Guiding Principle 9).

Observers are concerned that these treaties and agreements are likely to have a number of retrogressive effects on the protection and promotion of human rights, including by lowering the threshold of health protection, food safety, and labour standards, by catering to the business interests of pharmaceutical monopolies and extending intellectual property protection.

There is a legitimate concern that both bilateral and multilateral investment treaties might aggravate the problem of extreme poverty, jeopardize fair and efficient foreign debt renegotiation, and affect the rights of indigenous peoples, minorities, persons with disabilities, older persons, and other persons leaving in vulnerable situations. Undoubtedly, globalization and the many Bilateral Investment Treaties (BITs) and Free Trade Agreements (FTAs) can have positive but also negative impacts on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, which entails practical international solidarity.

Investor-state-dispute settlement (ISDS) chapters in BITs and FTAs are also increasingly problematic given the experience of decades related arbitrations conducted before ISDS tribunals. The experience demonstrates that the regulatory function of many States and their ability to legislate in the public interest have been put at risk.

We believe the problem has been aggravated by the “chilling effect” that intrusive ISDS awards have had, when States have been penalized for adopting regulations, for example to protect the environment, food security, access to generic and essential medicines, and reduction of smoking, as required under the WHO Framework Convention on Tobacco Control, or raising the minimum wage.

ISDS chapters are anomalous in that they provide protection for investors but not for States or for the population. They allow investors to sue States but not vice-versa. The adoption in 2014 of the United Nations Convention on Transparency in Treaty-based Investor-State Arbitration is an important step to address the problem of the typically confidential and non-participatory nature of investor-State agreements. Greater transparency should serve to remedy incoherence between current modes of investment with human rights considerations.

We invite States to revisit the treaties under negotiation and ensure that they foster and do not hinder human rights. If the treaties in question include a chapter on investor-State-dispute-settlement, the terms of reference of the arbitrators must be so drafted that interference in the domestic regulation of budgetary, fiscal, health and environmental and other public policies are not allowed.

Moreover arbitration tribunals should allow public review and its awards must be appealable before the International Court of Justice or a yet to be created an International Investment Court working transparently and with accountability. There must be a just balance between the protection afforded to investors and the States’ responsibility to protect all persons under their jurisdiction.

We recommend that:

All current negotiations of bilateral and multilateral trade and investment agreements should be conducted transparently with consultation and participation of all relevant stakeholders including labour unions, consumer unions, environmental protection groups and health professionals.

All draft treaty texts should be published so that Parliamentarians and civil society have sufficient time to review them and to weigh the pros and cons in a democratic manner.

Ex ante and ex post human rights impact assessments should be conducted with regard to existing and proposed BITs and FTAs.

The Parties should detail how they will uphold their human rights obligations if they ratify the BITs and FTA’s under negotiation.

Given the breadth and scope of the agreements currently under negotiation, robust safeguards must be embedded to ensure full protection and enjoyment of human rights.”


(*) The experts: Mr Alfred de Zayas, Independent Expert on the promotion of a democratic and equitable international order, Ms Catalina Devandas Aguilar, Special Rapporteur on the rights of person with disabilities, Mr Dainus Puras, Special Rapporteur on the right of everyone to the enjoyment of the highest attainable standard of physical and mental health, Ms Farida Shaheed, Special Rapporteur in the field of cultural rights, Ms Gabriella Knaul, Special Rapporteur on the independence of judges and lawyers, Ms Hilal Helver, Special Rapporteur on the right to food, Mr Juan Bohoslavsky, Independent Expert on the effects of foreign debts and other related international financial obligations of States on the full enjoyment of all human rights, particularly economic, social and cultural rights, Mr Léo Heller, Special Rapporteur on the human right to safe drink water and sanitation, Ms Victoria Lucia Tauli-Corpuz, Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples, Ms Virginia Dandan, Independent Expert on human rights and international solidarity.

For further information and media requests, please contact: Mr. Thibaut Guillet (+41 22 917 93 89 / tguillet@ohchr.org) or write to ie-internationalorder@ohchr.org

– See more at: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/NewsEvents/Pages/DisplayNews.aspx?NewsID=16031&LangID=E#sthash.16r6HbL3.dpuf

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[Campaign] Join us in urging the Philippine government to support the resolution filed in the UNHRC calling for a legally binding treaty on human rights and transnational corporations. #CorporateSelfish

corporateselfish copyFriends, let’s ask the Philippine government to “once again demonstrate leadership and commitment to human rights at the June 2014 UN Human Rights Council session by showing its support for a resolution that will seek to begin a process of developing an international treaty on business and human rights – the first binding international legal instrument to hold corporations accountable for their human rights abuses.”

We are Concerned about the continuing abuses and violations of human rights occurring all over the world which directly or indirectly engage the responsibility of business enterprises;

We are Concerned also that such abusive conduct often disproportionately impacts women, who comprise the majority of workers in the most vulnerable sectors, peasants, indigenous peoples, persons living in poverty, children among others, and especially concerned by the fact that justice is denied to those who suffer harm,

Considering the invaluable work done by human rights defenders and organisations, trade unions, indigenous rights and women rights defenders and others defending and protecting human rights in the face of corporate- related abuses,

Concerned at the incidence of attacks, harassment, restrictions, intimidation and reprisals against these human rights defenders,

But the Philippine Permanent Mission in Geneva is waiting for instructions from home base / DFA.

We need to call their attention. Join us in urging the Philippine government to support the resolution filed by a group of countries led by Ecuador in the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) calling for a legally binding treaty on human rights and transnational corporations.

Show your support online by sharing this post and popularizing the hashtags #CorporateSelfish, #StopCorporateImpunity and offline on June 24 join us in a symbolic action at DFA to appeal for Philippine Government’s support for the proposed treaty.

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