Human Rights

Policy Brief 68, October 2019

The Core Elements of a Legally Binding Instrument: Highlights of the Revised Draft of the Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights

Discussions towards the adoption of a legally binding instrument on business and human rights have reached its fifth year. The Chairperson-rapporteur submitted the Revised Draft of the legally binding instrument on 16 July 2019, having in view the comments and proposals received until the end of February 2019. The present policy brief reviews the core elements of the legally binding instrument as they are proposed in the revised draft, with the aim to provide analytical support to States’ delegations and other stakeholders during the negotiations on the binding instrument. This brief examines a number of issues, concerns and legal aspects that have been addressed during the previous sessions of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (OEIGWG) on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights and how they have evolved going towards the 5th Session of the OEIGWG.

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Policy Brief 67, October 2019

Enhancing Access to Remedy through International Cooperation: Considerations from the Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises

The shortcomings in international cooperation between regulatory authorities in different countries can open up a gap in their legal regimes which could be exploited by transnational corporations and allow them to elude responsibilities for the violation or abuse of human rights. The Revised Draft of the Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises seeks to bridge this gap and works towards increasing collaboration among countries for ensuring access to effective remedies for victims of human rights violations or abuses due to business activities. This brief looks at some of its salient features and how they can be utilized by countries for the protection and promotion of human rights in their territories.

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Policy Brief 66, August 2019

Impacts of Unilateral Coercive Measures in Developing Countries: the need to end the US embargo on Cuba

On 1 November 2018, the 193 Member States of the United Nations (UN) held the twenty-seventh consecutive annual vote of the General Assembly on a resolution entitled “Necessity of ending the economic, commercial and financial embargo imposed against Cuba.” The resolution was adopted with a near unanimous vote of 189 in favor, 2 abstentions (Ukraine and Moldova) and 2 against (United States of America and Israel). Before the vote and for the first time since the resolution was submitted in 1992, the US presented a set of eight proposed amendments to be considered by the 193 Member States, which were all rejected.

The present policy brief is a summary of the input prepared by the South Centre as a contribution to the 2019 report of the Secretary-General with respect to the imposition of unilateral economic, finance and trade measures by one State against another that is prepared pursuant to UN General Assembly Resolution 73/8.

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Policy Brief 56, October 2018

Setting the pillars to enforce corporate human rights obligations stemming from international law

The release of the Zero Draft of the Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, the Activities of Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises by the Chairperson of the Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Business and Human Rights (OEIGWG), is likely to revive discussions on the recognition of corporate entities as subjects of international law. The present brief examines corporate entities’ human rights obligations in the context of the Zero Draft, taking into account the views and comments presented during the first three sessions of the OEIGWG and the need to advance the discussion on those entities’ obligations under international law.

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Policy Brief 55, October 2018

Advancing international cooperation in the service of victims of human rights violations in the context of business activities

A zero draft of a legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises, is the subject of discussions in an inter-governmental open ended working group under the auspices of the Human Rights Council (15-19 October 2018). The draft aims at harnessing international cooperation among home and host states of business enterprises in order to address barriers  to get remedies to victims of human rights violations  in the context of business activities of transnational character. This brief discusses the approach to States’ role and obligations as proposed under the zero draft.

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Analytical Note, September 2018

Towards the Adoption of a UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working In Rural Areas

The UN Declaration on the Rights of Peasants and Other People Working in Rural Areas has been constructed by an Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group over six years of open and transparent negotiations. The text has significant support from members of the Human Rights Council. Accordingly, member States of the Human Rights Council should adopt the  Declaration through an upcoming Resolution at the 39th Human Rights Council Session (10-28 September 2018).

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SC Side Event to the UNGA 72, 18 September 2017

Title:             The Elaboration of a Legally Binding Instrument on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises

Date:              Monday, 18 September 2017

Venue:          UN Headquarters, New York

Organizers:  The South Centre, Permanent Missions of Ecuador and South Africa to the United Nations in New York

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Research Paper 75, March 2017

Implementing Farmers’ Rights Relating to Seeds

The concept of Farmers’ Rights recognized the role of farmers as custodians of biodiversity and helped to draw attention to the need to preserve practices that are essential for sustainable agriculture. This paper examines one particular aspect of such rights, perhaps the most controversial. It deals with the component of farmers’ rights referring to the use, exchange and sale of farm-saved seeds. Although that concept was initially introduced in 1989 with the aim of balancing the rights of farmers as breeders and of commercial plant breeders, a specific reference to the rights relating to seeds was only introduced upon the conclusion of the International Treaty on Plant Genetic Resources for Food and Agriculture (ITPGRFA) in 2001.

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Policy Brief 37, March 2017

The Need to Avoid “TRIPS-Plus” Patent Clauses in Trade Agreements

A recent article in a prestigious journal reminds us of how the intellectual property chapter of free trade agreements can prevent the sick from getting treatment.  This article also critiques the TPP clauses and warns that they should not be translated to national laws or copied into other FTAs being negotiated. 
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Policy Brief 36, February 2017

Gandhi: Walking with us today

Gandhi, his writings and his words are as relevant as ever today as when he lived.   This is the theme of the Sixth Gandhi Memorial Lecture presented by Gurdial Singh Nijar, a prominent Malaysian lawyer and former law professor, and organised by the Gandhi Memorial Trust, Malaysia.   The text of the lecture, which was presented in Kuala Lumpur in October 2016, is published in this policy brief.

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Policy Brief 32, October 2016

Corporations, Investment Decisions and Human Rights Regulatory Frameworks: Reflections on the discussion pertaining to FDI flows and the impact of a potential International Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights

This brief explores the question pertaining to the impact of States’ participation in designing an Instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises in the area of human rights  on attracting foreign direct investment, which has been a persistent issue of discussion since the mandate of the inter-governmental group on the mentioned Instrument was established. (more…)


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