29 Oct 2021

ENNHRI calls on the EU and Members States to get more involved in developing business and human rights treaty

A new ENNHRI statement calls on the EU and its Member States to get more involved in the development of a binding treaty on business and human rights. This coincides with the end of the seventh session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights since its Establishment (OEIGWG).

A third, revised draft of the treaty was presented at the meeting. ENNHRI particularly welcomes its recognition of the contribution and the complementary role of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Despite some shortcomings, the treaty is a good basis for further intergovernmental negotiations.

However, now is the time for more substantive involvement of the European Union, in line with EU policies and future actions. In addition, Member States where large transnational companies have their base should be more active in negotiations; this would help advance the process.

ENNHRI recommends that:

  • The EU and its Member States agree on a joint approach and participate in the drafting of a treaty on Business and Human Rights, in accordance with the division of competences between the EU and its Member States;
  • The EU and its Member States agree, as soon as possible, on a formal negotiating mandate for the European Commission to help shape the negotiation process;
  • The EU and its Member States put their extensive political and diplomatic competencies to use and actively participate in the drafting process during the next sessions of the OEIGWG, as well as in the intersessional work, by volunteering to be part of the group of “Friends of the Chair”.

This statement is an initiative of ENNHRI’s Business and Human Rights Working Group, and follows extensive engagement on the matter. In 2018, ENNHRI made a statement commenting on the ‘Zero Draft’ of the proposed treaty and intervened in discussion of the First Revised Draft in 2019. Last year, it published a statement on EU and Member State involvement.

» Read the full statement.

» Discover the work of ENNHRI’s Business and Human Rights Working Group