WIDE+ joins Latin American Medellin Declaration on Business and Human Rights

During a regional forum on business and human rights held in Medellin, Colombia, from 28-30 August, 2013, Latin American communities together with regional and international organizations called for justice against the human rights violations of companies. The forum was initiated by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, the UNDP Regional office for Latin America and the Caribbean and the Government of Colombia.

The undersigned groups demand mandatory standards to hold national and transnational corporations accountable for their systematic human rights violations, pollution, exploitation and destruction of territories and natural heritage. They emphasize that: “voluntary standards such as the United Nations Ruggie Guiding Principles are insufficient and incompatible with the protection of human rights and contribute to the impunity enjoyed by corporations who commit such violations on the continent in collusion with nation states”.

The final declaration can be read in Spanish at:

+ signs letter that calls for a halt to the proposed neoliberal Trade in Services Agreement

Acting on behalf of powerful corporations in the service industries, some 37 countries calling themselves “The Really Good Friends of Services” (RGF) launched secret unofficial talks in 2012 towards drafting a new international trade treaty that would further liberalize trade and investment in services, and expand “regulatory disciplines” on all services sectors, including many public services.

The treaty rules would increase foreign corporate control over domestic services and would restrict governments’ ability to regulate services. This would essentially change the regulation of many public and privatized or commercial services from serving the public interest to serving the profit interests of private, foreign corporations. Countries will meet again during the upcoming Ministerial Meeting  of the World Trade Organization (WTO) in Bali in December, 2013.

Member organizations of the Our World Is Not for Sale (OWINFS) network joined by other CSO’s have sent out a letter that asks to halt negotiations to this radical “free trade” agreement (FTA)  on services from coming into existence. To read the International Civil Society statement on Trade in Services Agreement (TISA):

http://ourworldisnotforsale.org/en/signon/international-civil-society-sends-letter-governments-opposing-proposed-trade-services-agreeme. The press release and International Civil Society Letter to Governments are uploaded at http://ourworldisnotforsale.org and at http://www.world-psi.org/en/psi-denounces-trade-services-agreement, in English, French and Spanish.

WIDE+ signs statement to call on legal Human Rights instrument to bind TNCs

WIDE+ and some of its members have joined many other social movements and civil society organizations in a statement of support to create a new legal Human Rights instrument for transnational corporations (TNCs).

The organizations and movements “welcome and support the initiative taken by a number of States in the Human Rights Council towards establishing an international legally binding instrument, concluded within the UN system, clarifying the human rights obligations of transnational corporations, in particular in relation to human rights violations, economic and ecological crimes and abuses”. A legal mandatory instrument would establish an effective mechanism to provide access to justice for all affected people in cases where such remedies are de facto not provided in domestic jurisdictions.

The statement can be found here: http://www.stopcorporateimpunity.org/?p=3830

+ and CAWN: end persecution of Honduran indigenous leaders

CAWN has written to the Honduran government in solidarity with human rights defenders Berta Cáceres Flores, Aureliano Molina Villanueva and Tomas Gomez Membreño, leaders of the Honduran Civic Council of Popular and Indigenous Organisations (COPINH). They are being criminalised because of their role defending the human rights of the Lenca indigenous population and are facing unfounded criminal charges. Berta Cáceres has been sentenced to serve time in prison and her colleagues’ freedom of movement has been curtailed.

Berta and her colleagues have been working with the COPINH to protest a planned hydroelectric project, a joint operation involving the Honduran government and a national company called Desarrollos Energéticos S.A. (DESA) with funding from the World Bank, in the Rio Blanco territory of the country. The population of Rio Blanco has strongly objected to the project since its inception. International human rights instruments, such as ILO Convention 169, compel the Honduran state to meaningfully consult with the local population and protect indigenous lands.

The Solidarity  letter of CAWN has been signed by War on Want, Front Line Defenders and WIDE+. Please feel free to use it to urge the Honduran government to take immediate measures to resolve this grave situation and ensure that these human rights defenders can continue their vital work.

Do read and use the letter in Spanish and English: http://www.cawn.org/html/news.htm

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