Al-Haq’s Submits Additional Textual Suggestions on the Revised Draft Legally Binding Instrument (LBI) to the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights
On 29 February 2020, Al-Haq submitted comments and proposals to the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG), on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, regarding the revised draft legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises (the revised draft). The OEIGWG convenes with the aim of producing a legally binding instrument (LBI) to codify, as binding law, human rights obligations for business enterprises. This follows similar projects, such as the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights, and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. While such instruments were not legally binding per se, the intention of the LBI is to provide a justiciable, operable basis for the protection of those whose rights have been infringed by corporate entities.
The revised draft is a product of the continued efforts of the OEIGWG, as well as the ongoing engagement of civil society organisations. Al-Haq have participated in previous sessions held by the inter-governmental working group and have submitted recommendations in relation to previous drafts of the legally binding instrument, in preparation for the publication of a second revised draft.
The integration of various provisions proposed by civil society organisations has led to marked improvements in the text of the LBI. However, Al-Haq notes in its submission that the LBI, in its current draft, remains insufficient and should be developed further in order to adequately address the gaps in the international framework that have allowed corporations to act with near impunity to the detriment of the human rights of millions of people worldwide. Al-Haq’s contribution identifies situations of conflict and occupation as those in which those affected are uniquely vulnerable, and which require further attention by the working group. As such, as noted in Al-Haq’s submission, the final instrument must to be strengthened in order to adequately address the challenges inherent in situations of conflict and occupation, where risks of corporate abuses are most high, and to ensure protections for particularly vulnerable groups, such as indigenous persons, and protected populations. Such protections must be brought to the core of the LBI. In particular, Al-Haq have stressed that the right to self-determination and permanent sovereignty over natural resources must be explicitly reaffirmed in the future draft of the LBI.
Al-Haq further highlighted the unique dynamics between business-related human rights abuses in situations of occupation, where the development and expansion of business-related human rights violations are not only enabled by State inaction or the failure of States to regulate business activities but are core to State policies of belligerence and domination. Such situations have not been adequately addressed by previous drafts and must be recognised in light of contemporary, ongoing, and protracted contexts of occupation, such as those of the occupied Palestinian territory, occupied Syrian Golan, and occupied Western Sahara.
Please find Al-Haq’s submission “Textual Suggestions on the Revised Draft Legally Binding Instrument (LBI) to the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights” here.