Center of Concern Welcomes Decision by UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC) to Move Towards a Treaty to Hold Transnational Corporations (TNCs) Accountable to Human Rights

Center of Concern | Thu, Aug 7, 2014

International economist and lawyer Aldo Caliari, representing the Center of Concern in an alliance of organizations to support a treaty on binding obligations on human rights and TNCs, celebrates the UNHRC decision to establish human rights as the framework for business activities. (Click for Press release)

Geneva, Switzerland (PRWEB) July 01, 2014 -- The 26th session of the United Nations Human Rights Council decided June 26, 2014, to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group whose mandate is to elaborate a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights. The move toward an involuntary framework reflects observations expressed by the international community of civil society organizations and the Vatican. In a statement to the session, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See Archbishop Silvano Tomasi recalled the 2013 tragedy of the deaths of eleven hundred factory workers in a Bangladesh garment factory as an example of the need for “a binding instrument [that] would raise moral standards and change the way international corporations understand their role and activities."

Affirming the UNHRC's decision and its potential impact on corporate ethics and human rights, Aldo Caliari, director of Rethinking Bretton Woods Project, said, “This breakthrough step, in spite of the pressure to vote against its passage exerted by large multinationals and powerful governments—especially those in Europe and North America—shows that people, regardless of differences, can recognize human rights as both a legal and a moral obligation."

"Until this decision, the only mechanism within the Human Rights Council was one based on a voluntary framework for companies’ self-monitoring of human rights issues,” said Caliari. “As an organization oriented by Catholic social tradition, the Center rejoices in this achievement, and we appealto the conscience of those governments that need to join our efforts," said Caliari. “Even as recently as three weeks ago, the votes to get this passed seemed impossible, but the concerted movement and actions by colleagues all over the world were enough to sway enough countries to withstand the pressure. We are proud to have been a participant in this historic effort to emphasize that TNCs and other business enterprises have a responsibility to uphold human rights."

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