2019 Will Be a Decisive Year for the Binding Treaty on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights

https://viacampesina.org/en/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2019/07/photo5042044233023858796-1024x434.jpgNeoliberal globalization has opened the doors for the savage exploitation of the world by the big economic powers. Megaprojects, agribusiness and militarization, among other processes, express a patriarchal, neoliberal and racist system that amounts to an assault  on life as such. As a result, peoples’ rights have been systematically violated, the Earth and its resources destroyed, pillaged and contaminated, while corporations continue committing economic and ecological crimes with total impunity. They also throw us into an environmental and climate crisis of unknown proportions, for which they do not take responsibility.

Driven by their imperative to maximize profits, transnational corporations (TNCs) seek to pit workers from different regions against one another throughout the entire supply chain. The systematic violations of human rights that affect millions of people, who were forcibly expelled by extractive industries, free trade or the business of war and forced to long migratory routes, constitute new markets and profits for civilian and military companies.

Communities and peoples are resisting the advance of this offensive that implies, in most cases, the combination of the institutional action of far-right governments with actions that violate the collective rights of peoples driven by actors such as transnational corporations. The evidence on the violation of human rights at the hands of these companies is widely documented and on the ground translates into environmental disasters, the death of activists, leaders of communities and peoples.

The signing of new international trade and investment treaties gives more rights to “the investors” than to the affected people and communities. Worse, through the investor-state dispute settlement mechanism (known as ISDS), corporate interests are shielded to the detriment of the public interest.

In order to challenge corporate power and the system that protects and benefits it, it is necessary and urgent to give a systematic response. We must unite our experiences, struggles, collectively learn from our victories and our failures, share strategies and analysis in order to curb the impunity of the transnationals. The United Nations Binding Treaty process on transnational corporations and human rights constitutes a space, within the framework of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations, from where we can force corporations to respect human rights, creating a mechanism so that affected states and peoples can sue transnational corporations.

The 5th Session of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG) in Geneva will take place from October 14 to 18. The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity will be there again, as every year since 2014, to continue to pressure governments and prevent them from derailing the process.

In that context:

  • We convene the Week of Peoples Mobilisation in Geneva from 12 to 19 October
  • We call to mobilise in protest against corporate power on October 12 across the planet and to pressure governments to advance the Binding Treaty. It is an important day that reminds the “discovery” of America initiating a colonial process that has a continuity with the current economic policies imposed by the most powerful countries to the Global South.

The Global Campaign to Reclaim Peoples Sovereignty, Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity (Global Campaign) is a network of over 250 social movements, civil society organisations (CSOs), trade unions and communities affected by the activities of TNCs. These groups resist land grabs, extractive mining, exploitative wages and environmental destruction caused by TNCs globally but particularly in Africa, Asia, Europe and Latin America. The Global Campaign is a peoples global structural response to unaccountable corporate power. It provides facilitation for dialogue, strategizing, exchanging information and experiences and acts as a space to make resistance visible and deepen solidarity and support for struggles against TNCs.