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EU must support binding UN treaty on business and human rights

02/10/2018

EU must support binding UN treaty on business and human rights

GUE/NGL MEPs are calling on the EU to support a binding United Nations treaty on business and human rights in a debate in the European Parliament today.

The debate centres on the EU’s involvement in the development of the treaty, which aims to hold businesses accountable for human rights and environmental violations within their international supply chains.
 
Our MEPs, along with many others, are calling for a mandate that reflects the need for a binding international instrument on business and human rights that overcomes the deficits of the current voluntary frameworks on this issue and curbs corporate impunity by putting people and the planet first. They are also calling for this position to be respected by those negotiating the treaty on behalf of the EU.
 
Spanish MEP, Lola Sanchez Caldentey (Podemos), explains why the EU must support a binding treaty: “Why are we allowing some business enterprises to behave like savages when they operate in third countries?”
 
“It is still impossible for victims to obtain the justice to which they are entitled.
 
“That is why we are facing a historical moment today: we can now push for a treaty offering real guarantees of justice. And the only way to do so is to include binding obligations for companies and countries.”
 
Dutch MEP, Anne-Marie Mineur (SP), outlines the role that the Commission should play: “The establishment of a binding instrument on business and human rights would mark the end of corporate impunity.”
 
“So far, the European Commission has only played an obstructive role in the process.
 
“Instead, the Commission should stress the significance of this treaty and put effort into convincing all Member States to join in. There is no time to waste and Member States must act now to make this treaty happen.”
 
German MEP, Helmut Scholz (DIE LINKE), also comments: “"Responsible enterprise management must become mandatory along the entire production chain.”
 
“Today, we must finally define the obligations of investors, rather than always negotiating about the protection of their profits.
 
“The recent ruling of the arbitration court in The Hague in favour of Chevron/Texaco - against the thousands of people suffering in the Ecuadorian rainforests from oil spills - shows how urgently we need a concrete, transparent and binding instrument to guarantee the rights of human beings over those of corporations. Otherwise, we will never achieve the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.”
 
The European Parliament will vote on a resolution on Thursday that calls on the EU and its negotiators to support a binding treaty.
 
GUE/NGL will also hold an event titled ‘Fighting impunity: a UN human rights treaty on transnational corporations and other business enterprises’ in the European Parliament on October 11 at 13.00.

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