Position Paper on the Revised Draft Dated 16.07.2019 of the Legally Binding Instrument

8 November 2019

Position Paper on the Revised Draft Dated 16.07.2019 of the Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, the Activities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises

The #Feminists4bindingtreaty is a global coalition of over 25 organisations, comprising a large and diverse collective network, working together since 2016 to integrate a gender perspective into the legally binding instrument on the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises (the “Instrument”) and to ensure that a gender approach and women’s voices, rights, experiences and visions are meaningfully included and prioritised throughout the negotiation process.

As recognised by affected communities, civil society organisations, academics, UN committees and experts, women experience adverse impacts of business activities differently and disproportionately, and may also face additional barriers in seeking access to effective remedies. From Maquila women workers in Mexico to women displaced by dam projects in North of Sudan and oil mining in Uganda, women around the globe are affected differently and often disproportionately by business activities due to intersecting and multiple forms of discrimination.

However, as the Working Group on the issues of human rights, transnational corporations and other business enterprises (the “WG BHR”) noted starkly this year, “neither States nor business enterprises have paid adequate attention to gender equality in discharging their respective obligations and responsibilities under the Guiding Principles.” The WG BHR set out a three-step gender framework guidance to states and business regarding the integration of a gender perspective in the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (the “UNGPs”), which consists of gender-responsive assessment, gender-transformative measures and gender-transformative remedies. The Instrument should reflect the guidance explicitly.

We welcome the fact that in the 4th session of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group many States reaffirmed the importance of inclusion of a gender dimension in the process. Now is the time to take a bolder position and to move beyond a tokenistic approach to gender issues. The strength of a feminist analysis of the Draft Instrument is in the highlight and promotion of lived experiences and perspectives, with an emphasis on women and gender issues as well as on marginalised voices generally, and in the associated identification of systemic and structural issues that perpetuate lack of accountability in relation to businessrelated human rights abuses and violations.

Click here for the full position paper on the revised draft dated 16.07.2019 of the legally binding instrument to regulate, in international Human Rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises.