Pax Christi International calls for the Zero Draft on a legally binding instrument on business and human rights to be strengthened


4/3/19 - The Open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (intergovernmental working group) had been mandated in 2011 by the Human Rights Council in Geneva "to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights." They started a broad, inclusive and participatory process of consultations with member states and civil society through different sessions at the UN in Geneva in which several of our members and partners of our Pax Christi International working group on extractives and Latin America have participated.

In the first and second sessions of the intergovernmental working group (2015 and 2016), exchanges were held by members states with input of other stakeholders on the content, scope, nature and form of the future international treaty. During the third session (2017), the intergovernmental working group discussed elements for a draft of a legally binding instrument prepared by the Chairperson-Rapporteur. Based on these previous sessions, as well as a series of open informal consultations held in 2018, the Permanent Mission of Ecuador prepared a zero draft legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises, as well as a zero draft optional protocol instrument, which were both discussed during the more recent fourth session (October 2018).

Following a call for submissions by the intergovernmental working group in preparation of the next session for negotiations, Pax Christi International has provided a submission for giving input on last year’s Zero Draft and has supported a submission by the NGO Mining Working Group at the UN in New York, of which it is a member. In the documents we ask for a strengthening of the next version of the treaty text to stop the impunity of human rights abuses by both transnational and national companies, for victims to have access to justice (including the most vulnerable ones), for human rights and environmental defenders and their protection to be included, and for civil society to have sufficient spaces to bring in information on the implementation of the treaty.

Below you can find the links to all of the documents:


Zero Draft, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Extractives, NGO Mining Working Group