Civil society organisations are hosting the fourth African Regional Indaba on the UN binding treaty on business and human rights at Parktonian Hotel in Johannesburg on 27 and 28 June 2023.
The Centre for Applied Legal Studies, ActionAid, the Alternative Information and Development Centre, Lawyers for Human Rights and Mining Affected Communities United in Action are hosting the fourth African regional Indaba on the UN binding treaty on business and human rights this week.
Known formally as the “Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate in International Human Rights Law, the Activities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises” the purpose of the treaty is to address human rights abuses by businesses across borders. The treaty was first proposed to the United Nations Human Rights Council by South Africa and Ecuador in 2014. A working group was then established to develop a draft of the treaty, which was published in 2018. Since then, four different drafts have been proposed and discussed at the United Nations in Geneva. Only once the draft is accepted, signed and ratified by states will it begin to come into force.
Civil society organisations have been instrumental in the treaty process so far, working to ensure that the treaty will be effective and reflect the needs of the people it is meant to benefit and protect. In particular, women and rural communities in the Global South. Our organisations have been involved in the treaty process since 2014, hosting platforms to learn about the treaty process and the needs of communities and ensure they speak to each other. This includes the regional Indaba.
The regional Indaba brings together representatives of affected communities, civil society organisations and states to discuss the progress made on the treaty so far and to prepare for the next round of negotiations at the United Nations later in the year. Our main goal is to ensure African perspectives are included in the negotiations and ultimately in the final draft of the treaty.
This year’s Indaba is scheduled to be an in-person event over two days on 27 and 28 June 2023 in Johannesburg. Day one will consist of a closed community activist workshop unpacking the nature and importance of the treaty. Day two will see African state representatives joining the discussion to elaborate on how we can best support, engage and collaborate with states and ensure communities’ voices inform their approach at the next round of negotiations.
“The draft treaty and ongoing negotiations shows there is growing recognition of the need for corporations to be held accountable for human rights obligations and violations,” says Anesu Dera, attorney at the Centre for Applied Legal Studies. “The political reality, however, is that there are business-friendly states who continue to try to undermine the process. This mechanism has a real chance of addressing corporate impunity and we must do all we can to engage in the process.”
- ActionAid South Africa
- Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC)
- Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS)
- Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR)
- Mining Affected Communities United in Action (MACUA)
- Women Affected by Mining United in Action (WAMUA)
For inquiries, please contact:
From the Alternative Information and Development Centre:
- Maxine Bezuidenhout on firstname.lastname@example.org or 084 776 9001
- Boa Monjane on email@example.com or 073 662 7149
From the Centre for Applied Legal Studies:
- Anesu Dera on Anesu.Dera@wits.ac.za
From Lawyers for Human Rights:
- Jessica Lawrence on firstname.lastname@example.org or 082 772 9857
- Meshack Mbagula on +27 74 977 5588