Prevention, Liability and Rights of the Victims

Discussing towards the first Draft of a legally binding Treaty on TNCs and other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights
UN mit Fahnen
UN mit Fahnen
Panel discussion

The event is jointly organized by ESCR-Net, FIAN International, Franciscans International, Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, Global Policy Forum, Rosa Luxemburg Stiftung-New York Office, and Transnational Institute.

The transformation of our world as proclaimed in the title of the 2030 Agenda requires fundamental changes in the way our societies produce and consume goods and services. However, far too often, corporate profits are systematically fed by poor working conditions, low environmental standards and even by human rights abuses and violations. When business enterprises violate labor rights, grab local population’s resources or cause damage to the environment and people’s health, they often face no legal consequences for their actions. Those affected have little or no access to legal protection or redress—neither locally nor in the controlling enterprises’ home countries.

Instruments to prevent and hold corporations accountable for human rights abuses and the violation of social and environmental standards are weak. Human rights enforcement remains ineffective, especially when their enjoyment is negatively impacted by transnational corporations (TNCs).

Against this background, the UN Human Rights Council’s resolution of 26 June 2014 establishing an open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) to elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate within the scope of international human rights law and the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises deserve to be called historic. Since 2014, the working group has convened four times. In July 2018, the Chair of the working group published a zero draft for the prospective treaty, which was discussed by representatives of governments, academia, civil society and business during the fourth session in October 2018.

Preventative measures, including but not limited to mandatory human rights due diligence, linked with legal liability, and the clarification and definition of the rights of affected and threatened communities will be three central elements of the prospective treaty. Representatives from governments, international organizations, academia and civil society will discuss together with the participants how the zero draft addresses these topics. They will further inform about the state of the treaty process and next steps to be taken.



  • H.E. Luis Gallegos Chiriboga, Permanent Representative of Ecuador to the UN
  • Representative, Permanent Mission of South Africa to the UN (tbc)
  • Mona Sabella, ESCR-Net
  • Shayda Naficy, Corporate Accountability/Global Campaign
  • Ana María Suaréz-Franco, FIAN International


  • Christian Courtis, Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

Moderator: Karolin Seitz, Global Policy Forum


Download the Invitation and Program here.