Time for EU to hold corporations to account

20 June 2016

Foreign affairs ministers from across the EU today published their conclusions on business and human rights. Friends of the Earth Europe welcomes a reference to the UN process to establish binding rules that would force multinational corporations to respect human rights laws [1], but calls on the EU to start actively supporting this UN process.

Anne van Schaik, accountable finance campaigner at Friends of the Earth Europe said: "It is worrying that the EU remains absent from a UN process that could for the first time enhance access to justice for people whose human rights have been infringed by corporations around the world. This is particularly alarming because the EU is at the same time pushing for privileged treatment for corporations around the globe through trade deals such as TTIP. We are calling on the EU to immediately support and engage in good faith in the UN treaty process."

The UN Inter-Governmental Working Group on Business and Human Rights exists to establish binding rules for businesses in relation to human rights, and was set up in July 2014, with a number of participating countries present from the Global South. The EU and its Member States have so far boycotted the process.

Friends of the Earth Europe is a signatory to the Treaty Alliance – a global coalition of over 400 civil society organisations calling for a binding UN treaty on businesses and human rights.