EU attempts to sabotage UN corporate treaty process

EU attempts to sabotage UN corporate treaty process

Date: 19 December 2017

Public Statement of the Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity 

According to our sources, the European Union (EU) delegation to the United Nations General Assembly’s Fifth Committee, which deals with budgetary matters, is trying to eliminate the financing of the Human Rights Council’s intergovernmental working group (IGWG) mandated to draft a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) and human rights.

It is worth recalling that the intergovernmental working group, set up under Human Rights Council Resolution 26/9 adopted in June 2014, is tasked with creating a mechanism at the international level to allow victims and affected communities access to justice in the face of human rights violations committed by TNCs.

The European Union, representing the interests of Big Money and TNCs at the United Nations (UN) and within this working group, has been trying for three years to derail this UN process by any and all means, even violating codes of diplomatic protocol. These efforts have so far been unsuccessful: as per its mandate, the working group started negotiations for the UN treaty last October, and is set to have a draft treaty for negotiation in its 4th session in 2018.

This recent attempt of the European Union in the context of the Fifth Committee is in line with its long-term strategy, which seeks to prevent any discussion focused on regulating TNCs, even when their behaviour is criminal. By using this strategy, the European Union is demonstrating once again that it prioritizes the interests of business over human rights.

The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity condemns this new attempt by the European Union to derail the treaty process, this time by depriving the working group of its financial resources.

Under these circumstances, we call on:

  1. Civil Society and social movements from Europe and other regions to denounce and mobilize against this attempt in their own countries
  2. The European Union to renounce this attempt to sabotage the process of elaborating a United Nations legally binding treaty on TNCs and human rights, and to participate constructively in the work of the IGWG as repeatedly urged by the European Parliament;
  3. The United Nations member states to firmly reject this attempt to eliminate the intergovernmental working group’s financing. On the contrary, the Fifth Committee should consider an increase to the working group’s budget due to the growing importance of the process and number of states and CSOs involved year after year. It is incumbent on states and regional bodies to re affirm their continued support for the mandate and a sustained process, by supporting and voting for the necessary resources and budgets.

Global Justice Now is a part of the global campaign network. For more information see: