Priority for human rights over business interests still on the cards

27 October 2017

Priority for human rights over business interests still on the cards

The SP is delighted that the process leading to a binding UN treaty on human rights and corporations has taken a further major step forward. This is despite repeated European Union attempts to frustrate progress, and despite also a remarkable lack of support on the part of the Netherlands.

SP Euro-MP Anne-Marie Mineur attended the opening of the third negotiating round in Geneva where on Sunday, together with dozens of other parliamentarians and with the support of some 240 legislators from across the entire world, she presented a manifesto supporting the aims of the negotiations,. “It was necessary to put pressure on the European delegation,” she said. “It’s long been known that the European Commission is no supporter of this treaty, but that doesn’t represent the position of the European Parliament. In a number of different resolutions the Parliament has expressed its support for the process, and stressed the importance of the treaty and the desirability of its having a binding character. The European delegation’s position – and they were also of course speaking on behalf of the Netherlands - was certainly moreover not arrived at by agreement.”

So, once again, Mineur sprang into action. “On Thursday we heard that the negotiations would have to be halted, in part as a result of pressure from the European delegation,” she explained. “So once again, with a number of colleagues from different political families I sent a letter to Commission president Jean-Claude Juncker and foreign policy coordinator Federica Mogherini, urging them to take a more constructive stance. Fortunately the delegation listened to us. The negotiations can continue, and the proposal for a binding treaty is still on the table. After all the moves that the EU is making to give more power to corporations, including in the free trade treaties which they’re negotiating, this would be a good and badly needed counterbalance.”

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