UN treaty, corporations and human rights

 

Sir, – In a year where we have seen the Amazon burning due to corporate greed, and the murder of hundreds of human rights defenders protecting their environment and land from corporations, it is imperative that Ireland supports a UN treaty to ensure transnational corporations respect human rights.

Our organisations are seeing communities throughout the world being exploited for profit. Land is being seized, forests are being cut down and rivers are being poisoned. Communities face violent forced evictions, land grabs, brutal physical attacks and even murder.

At present, there is no legally binding business and human rights regulation to stop this exploitation and abuse. Voluntary measures have failed to prevent abuses and are simply not strong enough.

We cannot expect corporations, many of which have more economic clout than the small countries they operate in, to happily regulate themselves without a strong global legal framework in place.

In a globalised economy of transnational corporations and investments, we need a global response that will hold companies to account for their actions in all jurisdictions.

This week is a crucial opportunity to advance a binding UN treaty on business and human rights. Negotiations are taking place in Geneva from October 14th to 18th. This is a unique opportunity to put in place strong human rights protections for communities being threatened by corporations.

Disappointingly, the EU and Ireland has failed to support the treaty process so far. We are calling on Ireland and the EU to support the treaty and to champion human rights. Indigenous people, environmental defenders and communities at risk throughout the world are depending on it. – Yours, etc,

ANDREA ROCCA,

Deputy Director,

Front Line Defenders;

CAOIMHE de BARRA,

Chief Executive, Trócaire;

CAROLINE WHYTE,

Research and

Communications,

Feasta – the Foundation

for the Economics

of Sustainability;

Dr GEARÓID Ó CUINN,

Director,

Global Legal

Action Network;

KARIN DUBSKY,

Director,

Coastwatch Ireland;

KATE RUDDOCK,

Deputy Director,

Friends of the

Earth Ireland;

JIM CLARKEN,

Chief Executive,

Oxfam Ireland;

JUSTIN BYRNE,

Chairman, An Claíomh Glas;

MARK CUMMING,

Head of Comhlámh;

PHILIP KEARNEY,

Chairman, An Taisce;

ROSAMOND BENNETT,

Chief Executive,

PAUL DONOHOE,

Head of Media

and Communications,

Christian Aid Ireland,

Dublin 6.