UN Expert Calls for Binding Human Rights Treaty for Corporations with Emphasis on Natural Resources Sector

On January 18, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights to freedom of peaceful assembly and of association, Maina Kiai, called for a treaty on business and human rights and urged states and corporations to engage with civil society on natural resource exploitation. He noted the "outsized" role played by corporations in the context of decision-making in the natural resources sector even though corporations are not bound by human rights obligations. And he urged states to enact a treaty that applies to corporations of all different sizes and geographical scopes, while also calling for the continued use of the UN Guiding Principles alongside a legally binding instrument. Mr. Kiai emphasized that states must recognize civil society organizations and affected communities which often lack opportunities to express their concerns and which are increasingly silenced by authorities, sometimes with force. Click here to read his entire report to the UN Human Rights Council.