Al-Haq Participates in the Open Consultation on the Second Revised Draft Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, the Activities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises
On 11 June 2021, Al-Haq participated in the second open informal consultation on the Second Revised Draft Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, the Activities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (the second revised draft), held by the open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights (OEIGWG). Al-Haq has previously submitted a matrix of comments and proposals on the second revised draft on 15 March 2021, which serves to complement the consultation session.
The open consultation was chaired by the Chair-Rapporteur and attended by governments, regional groups, intergovernmental organisations, United Nations mechanisms, civil society and other relevant stakeholders, as one of the bases for the preparation of the third revised draft legally binding instrument.
During its oral intervention on Articles 8 to 14 of the second revised draft, Al-Haq welcomed the significance of the process of informal consultations, and highlighted that the COVID-19 pandemic has further exposed existing institutionalised regimes of racial domination and oppression and the role of corporations in entrenching these discriminatory situations, including in Palestine.
Accordingly, Al-Haq noted that it is vital that the instrument addresses the disproportionate impact of business-related human rights abuses and international law violations on populations in conflict-affected areas, including protected persons in situations of belligerent occupation. Regarding applicable law, Al-Haq recommended that the instrument includes a specific provision surrounding conflict areas, emphasising the applicability of international humanitarian law, international human rights law, international criminal law and customary law therein, and stressed that this language should be brought to the core of the instrument.
With regard to legal liability, Al-Haq highlighted that the instrument should require States to incorporate, or otherwise implement, within their domestic law, appropriate provisions for universal jurisdiction over acts or omissions which amount to grave breaches of international law, or otherwise violations of jus cogens norms which give rise to obligations erga omnes. In particular, a reference should be made to liability with regards to aiding and abetting international crimes perpetrated by State actors, especially in situations of occupation and conflict.
Furthermore, Al-Haq recommended that the instrument provides specific provisions encouraging forum necessitatis, especially for cases relating to corporate abuse in conflict-affected areas, including situations of occupation, where access to remedy and justice are often deliberately hindered and denied.
Finally, Al-Haq underlined that the instrument should identify specific actions on the part of States, especially in conflict-affected areas. These actions include engaging at the earliest stage possible with business enterprises, denying access to public support and services for business enterprises that are involved with gross human rights abuses and refuse to cooperate in addressing the situation, and ensuring that their current policies, legislation, regulations and enforcement measures are effective in addressing the risk of business involvement in gross human rights abuses.
Read Al-Haq’s oral intervention delivered during the open consultation here.