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Statement of the Institute for NGO Research at the 38th Session of the UN Human Rights Council

Summary

Thank you, Mr. President.

The Institute for NGO Research notes the efforts of the Business and Human Rights Working Group. However, we continue to have serious concerns regarding the paradigms applied by OHCHR and the on-going abuse and exploitation of business and human rights frameworks to advance political agendas. First, we question the necessity of creating a treaty or other binding international regulatory structure when a far better use of OHCHR’s resources would be to promote open governance, anti-corruption, and stronger environmental and labor standards at the domestic level. Second, the continued lack of specificity regarding what standards OHCHR seeks to regulate is highly problematic. It is still unclear as to what exactly OHCHR considers to be a violation in the context of business and human rights, particularly where criminal penalties are proposed. Lastly, we find recent efforts by OHCHR to politicize the business and human rights frameworks in order to promote anti-Israel boycotts and engage in discrimination on the basis of religion and national origin to be a gross distortion of the UNGPs and anathema to the human rights norms upon which the UN and this Council were founded.

Mr. President, the success of business and human rights initiatives can only be achieved through improved domestic policy – particularly by many members of this Council whose records are abysmal – and clear definitions and standards. If instead, this Council and OHCHR will be driven by politicization and discrimination, these efforts are doomed to fail.

Thank you.