In a recent speech delivered at the UN in Geneva, the Permanent Observer of the Holy See Archbishop Silvano Tomasi renewed support towards the development of a binding instrument on business and human rights.
The process to elaborate a binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights got effectively under way last June, as the Human Rights Council approved entrusting an open-ended intergovernmental working group with such project.
Addressing the Third UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, held early December 2014, Archbishop Tomasi said that “The financial crisis has demonstrated the difficulty of relying on business to voluntarily self-regulate. In particular, weak and poor States suffer the consequences of an asymmetry in the international system where the business companies rights are backed up by hard laws and strong enforcement mechanisms while their obligations are backed up only by soft laws like voluntary guidelines.”
Center of Concern is member of the alliance of organizations promoting such binding obligations. “We have nothing against voluntary principles and voluntary mechanisms to settle disputes with companies over their human rights abuses. But one thing is to have them,” said Aldo Caliari, Director of the Center’s Rethinking Bretton Woods Project, “a different one is to say they are all that's necessary to hold companies accountable for those abuses. This, of course, we are morally bound to reject.”