EarthRights International is a participant in the International Network for Economic Social & Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) Corporate Accountability Working Group, which recently assembled a series of case studies on extractive industries, highlighting patterns of violations and gaps in the protection of human rights. This report relies on the contributions and input of many committed human rights advocates, representing over twenty different organizations.
This Joint NGO Report includes suggested Next Steps for the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General on Human Rights and Business (SRSG), Professor John Ruggie, who was appointed by UN Secretary General Kofi Annan in 2005 to study the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
A draft of the Joint NGO Submission was circulated at the UN Consultation on Human Rights and the Extractive Industry in Geneva, which took place November 10-11, 2005. The final version was given to Professor Ruggie at a consultation with NGOs in London, on December 9th.
EarthRights International also submitted a separate report to John Ruggie on earth rights abuses by corporations in Burma.
The Next Step
In 2006, Professor Ruggie intends to hold regional consultations, beginning in South Africa in March. This will ideally be followed by consultations in Asia and Latin America. The Special Representatives mandate also calls for another expert meeting on a specific sector. The ESCR-Net Corporate Accountability Working Group is working to ensure that affected communities and NGOs around the world are involved in these consultations.
In addition, as Professor Ruggie works with a legal team at Harvard and other colleagues to fulfill his mandate, human rights groups working on corporate issues will continue to submit case studies and reports for his consideration. Similarly, we expect that Professor Ruggie will be invited to conferences or venues where he would be able to consult more widely with members of indigenous and other affected communities and NGOs.
EarthRights International plans to submit another report to the Special Representative on the standard of aiding and abetting which applies to corporations, based on the cases and amicus briefs, which ERI has submitted.
Finally, EarthRights International will attend the 62nd session of the Commission on Human Rights in Geneva in March and April of 2006, where we will present more testimonies of corporate abuse, and to lobby John Ruggie and member states to adopt the norms or develop other binding guidelines to hold corporations accountable.