The 4th session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights took place from the 15-19 October. The session evolved around the negotiation of a “zero draft” legally binding instrument as well as a draft optional protocol presented by the Chairperson-Rapporteur of the working group prior to the session. The session therefore represented the first moment of negotiations in the process, with States and civil society making concrete proposals regarding the content and language of a draft treaty.
Although certain States continue to defy this process and voiced their disagreements on procedural and content matters regarding the functioning of the OEIGWG, a good number of States participated actively in the negotiations. Out of the more than 90 States present in the session, some 15 States from all regions participated very actively, raising important questions as well as making proposals on each article of the draft treaty. As during the previous sessions, civil society was strongly mobilized. Approximately 300 civil society representatives, including from NGOs, social movements, affected community representatives and trade unions were present in the negotiations and actively engaged in discussions.
On ETOs, although the zero draft does not make explicit reference to “States’ extraterritorial obligations”, it however does recognize in several important articles that States do have obligations which go beyond their territory or borders. This is reflected for instance in the preamble, in articles 5 on jurisdiction, 8 on the rights of victims, 9 on prevention and 10 on legal liability.
Please find here a preliminary analysis prepared by FIAN International on how the draft treaty deals with ETOs.