JOINT MEDIA STATEMENT | 20 OCTOBER 2020
AFRICAN ORGANISATIONS PUSH FOR A LEGALLY BINDING TREATY ON TRANSNATIONAL
CORPORATIONS AND HUMAN RIGHTS
In June 2014, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted resolution 26/9, by which it agreed
to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group OE(IGWG), in order to elaborate an
international legally binding instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and
other business enterprises with respect to human rights.
The sixth session of the OEIGWG will take place from 26 to 30 October 2020 to discuss the Second
Revised Draft of the Binding Treaty. In anticipation of the upcoming session, African civil society
organisations are calling for a Treaty that reflects African perspectives and effectively addresses
Over the last few decades, the continent has witnessed an increase in foreign direct and local
investments—which under the disguise of spurring economic development and in certain cases
complicit with State agencies, have been at the helm of massive human rights abuses and violations.
These investments, often by large and economically powerful Transnational Corporations, have a long
history of profiting from human rights abuses and environmental destruction.
Unfortunately, it remains difficult to hold them accountable for their actions, due to the huge power
imbalances that exist between states, corporations and communities. The few attempts to address
this, like the U.N. Guiding Principles on business and human rights, are voluntary and ineffective. The
current proposed Binding Treaty on TNCs and human rights has the potential to strengthen
accountability mechanisms. Many African countries have expressed continuous support for the
Treaty. This is an important step for gender justice, environmental rights and peoples’ movements
struggles to curb corporate impunity.
The 2020 negotiating session presents an opportunity for African governments, who have often
decried international instruments as tools of neocolonialism, to shape a strong framework that could
put an end to corporate impunity and provide remedies for victims. We hope to help facilitate this
and bolster regional collaboration on the Treaty. A strong, unified African position is a powerful
message to the international community, to transnational corporations and importantly to those
bearing the brunt of harmful corporate conduct.
As such, today, on 20 October, trade unions, civil society organisations and affected communities will
be hosting an interactive workshop on the Second Revised Draft from 10:00 – 15:00 SAST. We will
reflect on the key demands that have formed the African perspective on the treaty process and to
what extent, if any, these demands have been articulated in the Second Revised Draft.
Meeting ID: 960 2379 5131
Then, on Wednesday 21 October from 14:00 – 17:00 SAST , African state representatives and Human
Rights Commissions are invited to join an online African consultation to discuss with affected people,
civil society and experts, the impacts of transnational corporations’ activities in the region and how
an effective UN treaty could improve access to justice.
Issued jointly by:
African Coalition on Corporate Accountability (ACCA)
Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC)
ssociation for Women’s Rights in Development ( WID)
Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)
Justiça Ambiental (JA!) – Friends of the Earth Mozambique
Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)
Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA)
Southern African Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power
Southern and Eastern Africa Trade Information and Negotiations Institute (SEATINI)
Uganda Consortium on Corporate Accountability (UCCA)
Women Affacted by Mining United in Action (WAMUA)