MP briefing on the UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights

October 2020

Briefing Paper of the UK Working Group on the Binding UN Treaty on TNCs, October 2020 

Ahead of the start of the 6th session of UN negotiations on the Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights on Monday 26 October, this briefing paper calls on MPs to support the process to ensure primacy of rights over corporate profits.

Our Appeal to Members of the UK Parliament

The Office of the High Commission on Human Rights and the European Union (EU) Parliament have given strong backing to the treaty process. Additionally, recognising the urgency of corporate regulation, the EU will introduce a new mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Directive in 2021. Many hundreds of civil society organisations, including environmental and development NGOs, faith groups, women’s right organisations, trade unions and people’s movements, as well as parliamentarians participated in the 5th Intergovernmental Working Group in Geneva and discussed the 1st draft in 2019. Across Europe, more than half a million citizens called for the Treaty and an end to corporate courts. Yet the UK government has failed to support either.

The future Treaty needs to guarantee specific protection of individual and collective human rights, especially for those in the Global South. Therefore we, the supporters of the treaty process, appeal to all governments to ensure that the negotiations continue and successfully produce a final document that fulfils the above-mentioned aspirations.

Towards this end we urge UK MPs to:

  1. Encourage the UK government to engage positively, attend the 6th Session and work to ensure the process continues until a final instrument is passed;
  2. Become members of the Global Interparliamentary Network that supports the UN binding treaty process by signing the declaration on www.bindingtreaty.org;
  3. Work to ensure legislation at the UK level for a Failure to Prevent regulation requiring businesses to address the risks that their operations and supply chains pose to people and the environment globally.

Supported by: CAFOD, CORE, GLobal Justice Now, London Mining Network, RAID, TUC, UNISON, War on Want, Womankind Worldwide

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