Citizens call for rights for people and rules for business

13 October 2016

90,000 citizens called on the European Union to support a binding treaty on business and human rights today, and to participate in international discussion on the issue in Geneva on the 24th October.

The UN Human Rights Council (UNHRC), meeting this month, is developing a set of legally-binding rules for transnational corporations in relation to human rights known as "the UN treaty". This treaty could protect people from human rights abuses by corporations and bring corporate actors to justice, according to the organisations.

Anne Van Schaik, corporate accountability campaigner for Friends of the Earth Europe said: "90,000 citizens across Europe want human rights to be put before corporate rights. Last year 185 people died defending their land, forests and rivers against destructive industries. The European Union must engage in the international 'UN Treaty' process that could hold transnational corporations and other business enterprises to account for corporate abuses."

Outside of Europe more than three people were killed a week in 2015 defending their land, forests and rivers against destructive industries and corporations. 185 known deaths, by far the highest annual death toll on record and a 59% increase from 2014. This trend has continued into 2016. The European Union has an unprecedented opportunity to put human rights before corporate rights by participating in discussions around a 'UN Treaty', according to the organisations.

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NOTES:

[1] The petition is supported by Global Justice Now, Friends of the Earth England, Wales and Northern Ireland, Progressio, Friends of the Earth Netherlands, SOMO, Friends of the Earth France, CCFD-Terre Solidaire, ActionAid France, Aitec, Ethique sur l'Etiquette, Sherpa, FIAN France, CIDSE, Supply Cha!nge, Friends of the Earth Europe, ITUC, WemoveEU, ActionAid, Nazemi (Czech Republic), Friends of the Earth Germany-BUND, Manitese, Friends of the Earth Finland and Friends of the Earth Spain