African organisations push for binding treaty on business and human rights

Date: 01/10/2019

As part of the latest round of negotiations on the U.N. Binding Treaty on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights, African civil society organisations are calling for a Treaty that reflects African perspectives and effectively addresses African experiences.

Over the last few decades, the continent has witnessed an increase in foreign direct and local investment – which under the disguise of spurring economic development and in certain cases complicit with State agencies, have been at the helm of massive human rights abuses and violations. These investments, often by large and economically powerful Transnational Corporations, have a long history of profiting from human rights abuses and environmental destruction, especially in global South countries which may have weaker laws and depend on foreign investment. The few attempts to address this, like the U.N. Guiding Principles on business and human rights, are voluntary and ineffective. What we need is a legally binding, international tool to end corporate impunity.

The current proposed Binding Treaty on TNCs, initially tabled by South Africa and Ecuador in 2014 is under negotiation at the UN for the second time. This is an important step for gender justice, environmental rights and peoples’ movements struggles to curb corporate impunity. The ongoing negotiations present an opportunity for African governments, who have often decried international instruments as tools of neocolonialism, to shape a strong framework that could put an end to corporate impunity and provide remedies for victims.

Lawyers for Human Rights, supported by the Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung, along with civil society organisations from around the continent will be hosting a side event on 17 October 2019 entitled “For us, by us: Africans for a Binding Treaty” bringing together representatives from states, trade unions, civil society organisations and affected communities to strengthen the support for the Treaty by highlighting the disproportionate impacts of corporate impunity in Africa.

For more information and for the full concept note please contact Robin Lenahan at

Issued jointly by:

  • African Coalition on Corporate Accountability
  • Centre for Applied Legal Studies
  • Feminists for a Binding Treaty
  • Federation of Women Lawyers
  • National Association for Women’s Action in Development
  • Coalition for African Lesbians
  • Womankind Worldwide
  • Southern African Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power
  • Lawyers for Human Rights
  • Association for Women’s Rights in Development
  • Initiative for Social and Economic Rights
  • Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability
  • Justica Ambiental
  • Friends of the Earth Mozambique
  • Centre for Human Rights

#Africans4BindingTreaty #Feminists4BindingTreaty #BindingTreaty #UNForumBHR #StopCorporateImpunity

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