For decades, CIEL and partners around the world have worked to make the case and build the legal foundations for holding corporations accountable for the environmental and human rights impacts of their activities, regardless of where those activities occur. Over the last two years, international support has poured in for a treaty to bring new levels of accountability for transnational corporations.
More than 600 organizations from around the world called on the United Nations Human Rights Council to adopt an instrument and begin to reconcile years of human rights abuses by corporate actors. On the eve of a United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights held November 2013, more than 150 of these groups issued a joint statement calling for the creation of a new UN treaty on transnational corporations.
On June 25th, 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council agreed to develop a new, legally binding human rights agreement to regulate the activities of transnational companies. The Council’s decision was at once the end of one long journey, and the beginning of a new one. After a decades-long battle on many fronts, civil society won the recognition that a new treaty is needed. Negotiations are slated to begin in 2015.
Now, we must work to shape that agreement to make it as strong and effective as possible. When the agreements are finally in place, we will focus on ensuring they are enforced. And when all this is achieved, we will ensure that the progress we’ve made isn’t reversed or eroded.