Demands increase for international mechanisms to punish transnational corporations’ crimes

International Peoples Treaty: “Defending peoples’ rights against corporate power”

5 December 2013 by Stop corporate impunity


Geneva (Switzerland), Bali (Indonesia) – Social movements, networks and organizations from the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity - who protested today in Bali and in Geneva against the corporate capture of the World Trade Organization (WTO) trade negotiations and the United Nations (UN) Human Rights system - are demanding binding regulations to punish corporate crimes.

“Today in Bali, as governments gather for the WTO WTO
World Trade Organisation
The WTO, founded on 1st January 1995, replaced the General Agreement on Trade and Tariffs (GATT). The main innovation is that the WTO enjoys the status of an international organization. Its role is to ensure that no member States adopt any kind of protectionism whatsoever, in order to accelerate the liberalization global trading and to facilitate the strategies of the multinationals. It has an international court (the Dispute Settlement Body) which judges any alleged violations of its founding text drawn up in Marrakesh.

Ministerial negotiations, hundreds of activists from around the world are taking to the streets to denounce the free trade system that has facilitated corporate profit Profit The positive gain yielded from a company’s activity. Net profit is profit after tax. Distributable profit is the part of the net profit which can be distributed to the shareholders. while undermining laws that protect environmental and human rights from corporate abuse,” said Lyda Fernanda from the Transnational Institute. She continued saying that “people have shown that there are real alternatives, and have expressed the need for binding regulations instead of more destructive trade deals and corporate collusion with governments and institutions.”

As well as dominating trade negotiations, corporations have also succeeded in capturing the UN Business and Human Rights Forum which takes place from 2 to 4 December in Geneva. Several Transnational Corporations (TNCs) such as Vale, Rio Tinto, Barrick Gold Corporation and others are not only actively participating, but are working with the UN to maintain voluntary guidelines based on Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR), that are not designed to stop or punish human rights violations by TNCs. “These are non-binding norms, that have no enforcement mechanisms and are based on TNCs own reporting of their supposedly responsible performance, while corporate crimes and human rights abuses are systematic, as shown in the Rana Plaza (Bangladesh) and Marikana (South Africa) tragedies” said Juan Hernandez from Hegoa Institute, Basque Country, as he joined the demonstration in front of the Palais des Nations in Geneva. “CSR and non-binding codes have allowed corporations to operate with impunity. For decades, TNCs lobby Lobby
Lobbies
A lobby is an entity organized to represent and defend the interests of a specific group by exerting pressure or influence on persons or institutions that hold power. Lobbying consists in conducting actions aimed at influencing, directly or indirectly, the drafting, application or interpretation of legislative measures, standards, regulations and more generally any intervention or decision by the Public Authorities.
on the institutions of the Human Rights system continuously dismantled several initiatives to set a binding Treaty and International Court to judge corporate crimes. The abuses that victims are suffering across the globe reaffirm the urgency of such a Treaty and Court” added Professor Hernandez.

To respond to the growing corporate capture of international institutions, social movements, networks and organizations from the Global Campaign to Dismantle Corporate Power and Stop Impunity, are building an International Peoples’ Treaty that “will affirm an alternative vision from the people on law and justice” and in which “the people are the protagonists, political actors and originators of the laws and norms of a political, economic and legal system that will end the current framework of extraordinary privileges and impunity enjoyed by transnational corporations.”

The process for building this Peoples Treaty includes dialogues with several governments who are petitioning to the UN Human Rights Council to institute binding regulations on TNCs. Richard Girard from the Polaris Institute in Canada affirmed that “we will continue mobilizing until these binding norms are in place and until communities and people who have endured corporate crimes are compensated”.

For more information, please contact:
Bali (Indonesia):
Lyda Fernanda (Spanish and English) - lydafernanda@tni.org / +62 082236635857
Brid Brennan (English) - bridbrennan@tni.org
Richard Girard (English and French) - richard@polarisinstitute.org
Geneva (Switzerland):
Diana Aguiar (English, Spanish and Portuguese) – dianaguiar@gmail.com / +41 787985059
Gonzalo Berron (Spanish) - g.berron@gmail.com

Additional resources:
- Stopcorporateimpunity.org
- International Peoples Treaty – “Defending Peoples’ Rights From Corporate Power”: http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=4638
- Impunity INC: Reflections on the “Super-Rights” and “Super-Powers” of Corporate Capital:
http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=3322
- Statement to the Human Rights Council in Support of the Initiative of a Group of States for a Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations: http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=3830



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