Unity Statement: Asia Pacific Civil Society’s Demands for the Legally Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights

This statement originates from the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on the Asia Pacific Regional Consultation on the Legally Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights, May 1-3, 2015 Chiang Mai, Thailand, co-convened by the International Network for Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net), the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and the Asia Pacific Forum on Women, Law & Development (APWLD)

WE, the undersigned members of Asia Pacific civil society, representing different constituencies, movements and organisations, recognise, experience, and resist the human rights violations committed by transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business entities.

We strongly protest the impact of direct and indirect violations by TNCs and other business entities, which destroy lives, cultures, livelihoods, the environment, and profoundly affect women, children, peasants, workers, and indigenous peoples.

We welcome UN Human Rights Council Resolution 26/9[1], which mandates an intergovernmental working group to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

We collectively unite to demand corporate accountability for human rights violations and to redress the grave imbalance between corporate power and the power of people.

We strongly demand that our governments protect, respect and fulfill human rights and commit to enact effective laws for corporate accountability. We encourage all governments to actively participate in the development of a legally binding treaty on business and human rights in the UN Human Rights Council.

As peoples and CSOs, we demand an end to the human rights violations perpetrated with impunity by TNCs and other business entities, often with the complicity or inaction of States. We make the following demands for a legally binding treaty:

  • The adoption of an expansive definition of transnational corporations which encompasses parent companies, subsidiaries and contractors and ensures comprehensive supply chain accountability.
  • No corporate participation in the process of elaborating and adopting the treaty. The private sector has actively resisted legal accountability for the impact of its actions and this treaty must be formulated with the priorities and interests of affected individuals, communities, peoples, and women and men at its heart;
  • The inclusion of a provision that explicitly prohibits corporate capture of political processes, including collusion and complicity between governments and corporate actors. At a minimum, this should take the form of a requirement that there is no conflict of interest in government approval of corporate sector projects;
  • The inclusion of a provision requiring transparency and financial disclosure from transnational corporations that should be made available to the public consistent with the public right to access information regarding private operations that have public impact, including for projects financed by international financial institutions;
  • An end to impunity for the human rights violations caused by transnational corporations, including but not limited to providing for criminal liability for corporations, their employees, and governments and public officials complicit in the unlawful activity of transnational corporations;
  • Accountability for the direct, indirect, short-term and long-term impacts of corporate activity, including remote, “down-stream”, or cumulative negative impacts;
  • Affirmation of the primacy of governments’ human rights obligations under the UN Charter and international treaties and customary laws over obligations in trade and investment agreements.
  • A rejection of coercive enforcement mechanisms under trade and investment agreements which are incompatible with the human rights obligations of governments, including Investor-State Dispute Settlement.
  • Provisions should be progressive and ensure no regression from existing international human rights standards, including core ILO Conventions and the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women, which recognises the entitlement of women to substantive equality with men;
  • The inclusion of provisions recognizing the right of indigenous peoples to free, prior, and informed consent (FPIC) as a corollary of their internationally-recognised right to self-determination; for non-indigenous peoples, consent must be secured through a direct and participatory process of consultation that respects the right to participation.
  • An explicit prohibition of government or corporate retaliation against human rights defenders, in line with the Declaration on the Right and Responsibility of Individuals, Groups and Organs of Society to Promote and Protect Universally Recognised Human Rights and Fundamental Freedoms, including through the suppression of protests, surveillance, and other forms of intimidation and harm, noting the specific vulnerabilities of women human rights defenders, which requires sensitivity to the particular pressures and challenges that they face including sexual harassment and intimidation and criminalisation.”
  • An explicit prohibition of the use of State security, military or paramilitary forces to secure corporate projects.
  • The establishment of an international tribunal or mechanismto receive, investigate, and adjudicate complaints of human rights violations committed by TNCs. The decisions of this mechanism should be based on the obligations of governments and businesses in relation to international human rights standards and gender equality and should be legally binding.

 

Agreed on by the undersigned members of Asia Pacific civil society.

Add your endorsement

 

Verification

 

Endorsed by:

  1. SENTRO ng mga Nagkakaisa at Progresibong Manggagawa, Philippines
  2. Tebtebba – Indigenous Peoples’ International Center for Policy Research and Education, Philippines
  3. International Rivers, International
  4. Center for Trade Union and Human Rights, Philippines
  5. AshaParivar, India
  6. National Alliance of People’s Movements (NAPM), India
  7. Socialist Party of India
  8. National Fisheries Solidarity Movement (NAFSO), Sri Lanka
  9. Citizen News Service (CNS), India
  10. IBON International, International
  11. Asia Indigenous Peoples Pact (AIPP), Thailand
  12. Pesticide Action Network- Asia and the Pacific (PANAP), Malaysia
  13. Community Resource Centre (CRC), Thailand
  14. The Philippine Alliance of Human Rights Advocates (PAHRA), Philippines
  15. AlyansaTigil Mina (ATM), Philippines
  16. Indonesia for Global Justice, Indonesia
  17. Community Legal Education Centre (CLEC), Cambodia
  18. POSCO Pratirodh Sangram Samiti (PPSS), India
  19. Tavoyan Women’s Union, Cambodia
  20. Solidaritus Perempuan (SP), Indonesia
  21. Tanggol Bayi (Defend Women), Philippines
  22. Tanggol Kalikasan, Philippines
  23. Center for Human Rights and Development, Mongolia
  24. Shwe Gas Movement (SGM), Burma
  25. Asia Forum for Human Rights and Development (FORUM-ASIA)
  26. Leitana Neihan Women’s Development Agency (LNWDA), Papua New Guinea
  27. Fumi Suzuki, Space Allies/Allies Law Office, Japan
  28. S.K.Priya, M/s Vasudevan & Priya, India
  29. Rolando R. Recto, Tanggol Kalikasan, Inc., Philippines
  30. Dwi Astuti, Bina Desa/InDHRRA, Indonesia
  31. Indonesia for Global Justice, Indonesia
  32. Azra Talat Sayeed, Roots for Equity,  Pakistan
  33. Emelia Yanti Siahaan, Federation of Indonesian Trade Union – GSBI, Indonesia
  34. Francesca Feruglio, Nazdeek, India
  35. Shalini Bhutani, Legal Researcher & Policy Analyst, India
  36. Julia Mehboob, Development Organization for Social Transformation (DOST), Pakistan
  37. Prasant Paikray, PPSS, India
  38. Wanee Bangprapha Thitiprasert, Research and Advocacy for Women Network, Peace and Culture Foundation, Thailand
  39. Ravadee Prasertcharoensuk, Sustainable Development Foundation, Thailand
  40. Duke Ivn Amin, JAGO NARI, Bangladesh
  41. Zanaa Jurmed, Center for Citizen’s Alliance, Mongolia
  42. Atta Ul Haq, Youth Association for Development, Pakistan
  43. Ms. Sor.Rattanamanee Polkla, Community Resource Centre, Thailand
  44. Waliullah Ahmed Laskar, Barak Human Rights Protection Committtee (BHRPC), India
  45. Geetha Lakmini, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Sri Lanka
  46. Rina Anastacio, Migrante International, Philippines
  47. Francesca Feruglio, Nazdeek, India
  48. Vanaja Ramprasad, Green Foundation, I
  49. Herman Kumara, National Fisheries Solidarity Movement, Sri Lanka
  50. Kirity Roy, Banglar Manabadhikar Suraksha Mancha (MASUM), India
  51. Strauss Fernandez, Alternate Forum for Research in Mindanao, Philippines
  52. Mala Liyanage, Sri Lanka
  53. R. Nadaraja, Workers’ Solidarity Union (WSU), Sri Lanka
  54. P.Logeswary, Human Development Organization (HDO), Sri Lanka
  55. C. Lalremruata, Zo Indigenous Forum, India
  56. P.P. Sivapragasam, Coalition of Agriculture Workers International (CAWI), Malaysia / Sri Lanka
  57. Jannie Lasimbang, Jaringan Orang Asal SeMalaysia (Indigenous Peoples Network of Malaysia), Malaysia
  58. Maria Aurora T.W. Tabada, Institute for Strategic Research & Development Studies, Philippines
  59. Gyanendra Pun, Youth Federation of Indigenous Nationalities, Nepal
  60. Rosanne Trottier, Sawang Boran, Thailand
  61. KONTRAS (The Commission for The Disappeared and Victims of Violence), Indonesia
  62. Ergilio Ferreeira Vicente, Covalima Youth Centre, Timor Leste
  63. Debjeet Sarangi, Living Farms, India
  64. Meng Chuo Wong, Institute for Development of Alternative Living, Malaysia
  65. Colin Nicholas, Center for Orang Asli Concerns, Malaysia
  66. Ahmad Farouk Musa, Islamic Renaissance Front, Malaysia
  67. Lenin Raghuvanshi, PVCHR, India
  68. Wasim Wagha, DAMAAN Development Organization, Pakistan
  69. Chennaiah, APVVU, India
  70. Sakiul Millat Morshed, SHISUK, Bangladesh
  71. Antonio Tovar, Farmworkers Association of Florida, USA
  72. Anne Lasimbang, PACOS Trust, Malaysia
  73. Kaushalya Munda, Bharat Munda Samaj, India
  74. Agnes Kharshiing, Civil Society Women’s Organization, India
  75. Romeo F. Quijano, Pesticide Action Network Philippines, Philippines
  76. Alfonso van ZIjl, Multi-Sectoral Action Group (MSAG) of Aurora, Philippines
  77. Sipra Devi, Nivedita Foundation, India
  78. Anuj Sitoula, Environment and Development Research Center, Nepal
  79. Thun Saray, Cambodian Human Rights and Development Association ADHOC, Cambodia
  80. Asia Pacific Research Network
  81. Gong, Jeong-hwa, Gwangju Local Council, Consumers Korea, South Korea
  82. Marifel Macalanda, Asia Pacific Indigenous Youth Network, Philippines
  83. Sultana Kamal, Ain o Salish Kendra (ASK), Bangladesh
  84. Henri Tiphagne, People’s Watch, India
  85. All India Network of Individuals and NGOs working with National and State Human Rights Institutions [AiNNI], India
  86. Human Rights Defenders’ Alert -India [ HRDA], India
  87. Working Group on Human Rights India and the UN, India
  88. Sring Imwu, Hong Kong SAR, China
  89. Maruf Barkat, Equity & Justice Working Group, Bangladesh (EQUITYBD), Bangladesh
  90. Sr. Ma. Famita N. Somogod, MSM, Rural Missionaries of the Philippines-Northern Mindanao Sub-Region (RMP-NMR), Inc, Philippines
  91. Bunyuen Sukmai, Thailand Confederation Trade Union, Thailand
  92. Ted Smith, International Campaign for Responsible Technology, USA
  93. Nilufa Akter Eaty, Welfare Association for Development Alternative (WADA), Bangladesh
  94. Valentina Sagala, Institut Perempuan, Indonesia
  95. Strauss Fernandez, AFRIM, Philippines
  96. National Anti-Poverty Commission-Formal Labor and Migrant Workers Sector, Philippines

 

[1]UN Human Rights Council, Resolution 26/9, Elaboration of an internationally legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, A/HRC/26/L.22/Rev.1, 26 June 2014

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