Reflections on the Revised Draft Treaty

Welcome to our Blog on the Revised Draft of the proposed legally binding Treaty on business and human rights (released in July 2019). We present this series as part of our Debate the Treaty Blog which highlights key developments and opportunities for change, with the aim of empowering advocates in civil society, governments and businesses with the evidence and guidance to help define their position and engagement in the treaty process. We believe this initiative is complementary to the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.

How could the Revised Draft complement the Guiding Principles? Does it address the concerns of the business and human rights movement? How can the draft instrument deliver for all stakeholders? What should the content and scope of the Treaty be?  This blog aims to provide space for an exchange of views by thought leaders across the field on these very questions. 


In July 2018, the UN Human Rights Council’s open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights  (IGWG) released the first official draft of the legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises. This so-called “Zero Draft” was the subject of much debate amongst civil society, academics, governments and business alike (see our  Reflections on the Zero Draft blog series).

On 16 July 2019 the IGWG published the revised draft of the legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises. An unofficial summary of the Revised Draft is available here as well as a non-official Spanish translation. For a compilation of the Revised Draft blog series as of the 11 October 2019 click here.

Sandra Cossart, Sherpa

Lucie Chatelain, Sherpa


“...the Revised Draft still fails to clearly remove key legal obstacles faced by victims of corporate abuses..." 


Sandra Cossart & Lucie Chatelain, Sherpa - Read more




Corinne Lewis, Lex Justi


“...Provisions that recognize the special attention required for groups of persons facing heightened risks of violations to their human rights from businesses’ activities should include minorities..." 


 Corinne Lewis, Lex Justi & Carl Söderbergh, Minority Rights Group - Read more




Richard Meeran, Leigh Day


“the legal and factual complexity... of these cases, and the might of the opposition, mean that victims require specialist legal representation and technical experts to pursue such cases”


 Richard Meeran, Leigh Day- Read more



Maha Abdallah, Al-Haq


“[A legally binding instrument] should…be developed further…to counter corporate abuses and complicity in grave breaches and international crimes…”


 Maha Abdallah, Al-Haq- Read more


Maysa Zarob, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

“for any Treaty to be effective it must pass three key tests: It must 1. meet the needs of vulnerable groups, 2. ensure effective access to remedy and justice, and 3. reinforce mandatory transparency and due diligence.


 Maysa Zarob, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre- Read more



“…the value of this article (Article 6.7 of the Revised Draft) is that it operates as an extension of the application to business corporations (legal entities) of a series of crimes  under international law.”



 Carlos Lopez, International Commission of Jurists- Read more




“…it is not clear whether a parent company would be liable for the human rights harms caused or contributed to by a subsidiary.”


 Gabriela Quijano, Amnesty International- Read more




“This treaty is a recognition by the international community that corporate impunity for human rights abuses must end.”


 Isedua Oribhabor, Access Now- Read more




“Waiting for the treaty to come into force would be a mistake. The time to act is now.”


 Dr. Matthew Mullen, Founder, Article 30- Read more




"A legally binding treaty holds the promise of advancing feminist demands for an economic system that does not increase inequalities..."

 Felegene Anumo, AWID (member of Feminists for a Binding Treaty)- Read more


"Substantively and diplomatically, the new draft is an enormous improvement over the “zero draft” released a year earlier"

Doug Cassel, Emeritus Professor of Law, University of Notre Dame- Read more: Part I and Part II


“The new draft contains enough improvements to justify hope for a fruitful fifth round of negotiations this Autumn”.

Antonella Angelini, Human Rights Institute, Columbia University- Read more