Report of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights (A/HRC/38/48)
Item 5: Human rights bodies and mechanisms
28 June, 2018
Joint statement by: International Organization for the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination (EAFORD) and Geneva International Centre for Justice (GICJ)
Thank you Mr. President,
EAFORD and Geneva International Centre for Justice welcomes the report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights transnational corporations and other business enterprises, and especially welcome the urgent discussion held on an international legally binding agreement and for civil liability in home countries of transnational companies. To date, there has been a serious lack of regulation and accountability with regards to grave violations by transnational corporations and worse still numerous documented incidents where TNCs have exercised their powers to attack, threaten, and eliminate actors, including human rights defenders, who promote and protect the human rights of victims and who are also now seeing their access to justice disappear.
Furthermore, TNCs who commit atrocities on the environment, civilians, and human rights defenders with impunity have put in place schemes to win time against and that is costly to victims and defenders at the judiciary level.
Considering these circumstances access to judicial remedies under the Guiding Principles is no longer a long-standing solution due to various legal and non-legal barriers, numerous legal loopholes, and corporate power. In addition, there needs to be a reversal of burden of proof where it should be the legal obligation of businesses, companies, and TNCs to demonstrate and prove their innocence. International human rights law must by all means remain above economic and business law.
To this end, we call for the protection of human rights and the need for an international legally binding agreement and to end corporate impunity.