International Policy Developments

Outcome of the seventh session of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other
business enterprises

  • “The Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises convened its seventh session from 17 to 21 February 2014 in Geneva. It held discussions on its programme of work and activities for 2014, including: The Working Group’s strategic focus on State national action plans, its roadmap for action in 2014, the launch of its online repository and the annual review process; Legal and practical barriers to effective remedy in the judicial domain and the challenges concerning non-judicial grievance mechanisms; The third annual Forum on Business and Human Rights to be held in Geneva from 1 to 3 December 2014,and other Working Group projects and salient issues, including the Working Group’s June 2014 report to the Human Rights Council; letters of allegations and urgent actions sent by the Working Group to States and business enterprises; a UN-linked global fund on business and human rights; a review of information on its resources; the Working Group’s plan to create an informal “annual Forum reference group” and a “conflict reference group”; the World Bank’s review of its safeguard policies; and the Reporting and Assurance Framework Initiative. This report summarizes some of the key items discussed”. http://www.global-business-initiative.org/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/wg-seventh-session-outcome-feb-2014.pdf

Commentaries on the UN Working Group and its Work

  • The mandate of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights will end in October 2014.  It is likely that the mandate will be renewed, and that the terms of the mandate will be reviewed and revised.  This webpage provides access to commentaries on the work of the Working Group, including position statements made by various stakeholders on the future of the Working Group’s mandate. http://www.business-humanrights.org/UNWorkingGroupPortal/Commentaries

OHCHR Study and Consultation on Domestic Law Remedies for Corporate Involvement in Gross Abuses

  • The OHCHR has launched a consultation process that builds on a recent study it commissioned on the effectiveness of domestic judicial mechanisms in relation to business involvement in gross human rights abuses.  It has invited all interested stakeholders to make submissions in writing by 1 June 2014.  Further details of the consultation process – including the issues on which submissions are sought – can be obtained using the link below.  http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/OHCHRstudyondomesticlawremedies.aspx

Resources on Calls for a Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights

  • The momentum behind calls for a binding treaty on business and human rights has increased significantly in recent months as the time approaches for the renewal of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights’ mandate.  At the link above, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre is collecting resources relevant to calls for a binding treaty – including statements from various stakeholders and initiatives and commentaries – and is seeking to reflect a broad range of views on the topic.  http://www.business-humanrights.org/Documents/Legally_Binding_Instrument_Business_Human_Rights

In particular, these resources include: