“Rights for People, Rules for Corporations - Stop ISDS!” - join us in supporting the European campaign!
Most serious labour law violations, land grabbing and expulsions, extensive destruction of the environment as well as the worsening effect of climate change are the consequences of the activities of transnational corporations. Nevertheless, it is often difficult to hold parent companies responsible for human rights violations and damage to the environment, which they commit through their global business activities. The approach of voluntary commitment, which time and again had been urged in the past, has failed. Companies need clear, binding and international rules. The Human Rights Council of the United Nations has been engaged in negotiations on a binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights since 2014. The EU has been called upon to constructively participate in the negotiations. Some EU Member States and Switzerland have now started to implement laws, which impose on companies due diligence in respect of compliance with human rights. Apart from that, a law on legal due diligence is also required at European level.
Investment Protection Agreements, which protect the interests of foreign investors, form part of EU Trade Agreements. This “Investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS)” results in an intransparent, parallel legal system, which favours multinational corporations: hence, multinational corporations have the opportunity to sue nation states - with some of their claims running into billions - if these pass laws, which might put investments of corporations at risk or make them less profitable. In many cases, the sheer threat of legal action is enough to influence legislation in the interest of investors against the needs of citizens (“regulatory chill”). The abolition of ISDS would enable governments to enforce better labour and consumer rights as well as Environment and Climate Protection Directives, without having to fear being sued by corporations.
Necessary changes can only be made if we act together, therefore AK supports the campaign “Rights for People, Rules for Corporations - Stop ISDS!”. With this initiative, we call upon European legislators to no longer subordinate the interests of people to those of corporations.
The concrete demands of the campaign “Rights for People, Rules for Corporations - Stop ISDS!”:
Stop corporations from suing nation states:
- Termination of special rights to sue for corporations and parallel justice according to the ISDS system (withdrawal from existing trade and investment agreements, which contain such special suing rights)
- No creation of a global permanent court of justice for corporations (socalled Multilateral Investment Court (MIC)
Terminating the exemption from punishment of corporations and protecting human rights:
- Creating the opportunity for local communities from the Global South to be able to sue internationally operating corporations in countries such as France, Germany or Great Britain
- Supporting the negotiations of the UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights, which imposes on companies due diligence along the value added chain, making these also enforceable
- Enshrining legal due diligence for corporations at EU and national level