5th Session of UN negotiations on Binding Treaty and Human Rights came to an end

Attempts by official delegation of Brazil to limit civil society participation

Víctor Barro, Friends of the Earth Spain

The negotiations of the UN Human Rights Council Working Group towards a legally Binding Treaty on transnational corporations and human rights abuses perpetrated by them drew to a close Friday in Geneva, Switzerland.

Several social movements and organizations, gathered in the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, welcomed the advance of the process. Nevertheless, they expressed concern over the fact that the contents of the new legal instrument are still far from ensuring justice to the communities affected by transnational corporations.

In addition, as the talks were coming to an end, the official delegation of Brazil raised the need to have spaces for “direct negotiation among States”, which social movements and organizations, as well as many States, considered a threat to the participation of the civil society.

In an interview with Real World Radio as soon as the negotiations came to a close, lawyer Manoela Roland, of the Human Rights and Business Center of Brazil (HOMA), which is part of the Global Campaign, said that “there are some positive aspects because we managed to ensure the continuity of the process and a sixth session of negotiations” (to take place in 2020).

But she regretted “the attempts to limit the participation of the civil society”. “This is a reason of concern and reflects the deep conservatism that affects all human rights spaces”, she added.

In a similar vein, Leticia Paranhos, co-coordinator of the Economic Justice – Resisting Neoliberalism program of Friends of the Earth International (FoEI), who is also from Brazil, made reference to the issue: “The Treaty process will continue with a sixth session of negotiations and this is a victory for the movements building the struggle against transnational corporations”.

Paranhos mentioned the attitude of the Brazilian delegation at the end of the negotiations, and highlighted that even the other States expressed that they support the participation of the civil society. “We didn´t even have to fight this, because the other States told them no”.

The activist added as well that the goal of Friends of the Earth International and the organizations member of the Global Campaign is to “ensure justice for the people affected around the world, build a globalized movement against transnational corporations and stop impunity”.

Meanwhile, Vidalina Morales, of the Association for Social Economic Development of El Salvador (ADES), assessed that “a lot of discussions took place and that is always a good thing”. And she added: “there was some progress, minimal in real terms, because this has been under negotiation for five years already”. In this way, Morales assured that “a Treaty that protects victims and people affected by human rights abuses anywhere in the world is urgently needed”.


(CC) 2019 Real World Radio