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Contributions to the legal building blocks of the Treaty regarding the scope, the state duty to protect and direct obligations for corporations

By Friends of the Earth Europe, Brot für die Welt (Social Service Agency of the Protestant Church in Germany), SOMO (Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations), CIDSE (International Alliance of Catholic Development Agencies), IBFAN (International Baby Food Action Network), IBFAN-GIFA (Geneva Infant Feeding Association), Global Policy Forum

The open-ended intergovernmental working group (IGWG), established under the Human Rights Council (HRC) Resolution 26/9, is mandated “to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises”. The first two sessions of the IGWG “shall be dedicated to conducting constructive deliberations on the content, scope, nature and form of the future international instrument”. The IGWG will have its first session during 6-10 July 2015 in Geneva.

In order to inform the IGWG’s work, the undersigned civil society organisations (CSOs), members of the Treaty Alliance, commissioned legal research to legal advisory bureau Global Rights Compliance, Dr Surya Deva and Professor Olivier de Schutter. These are all legal experts who have been engaged in the international debate on business and human rights.

Building on the papers of these legal experts,4 we have developed a submission with regard to the following elements of the Treaty Proposal:

1. Scope of the treaty

A. What rights shoud by the treaty?

B. To which companies should it apply?

2. State duty to protect

A. Human Right Due Diligence

B. Access to Justice

3. Direct obligations for corporations