Civil Society Organizations’ critics to bank interpretations on human rights responsibilities
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Faced with the risks involved in the Thun Group document, a group of civil society organizations issued an open letter criticizing many of the issues raised in that document. We signed the letter 34 academic and civil society organizations from 17 countries, including BankTrack, SOMO, Oxfam, Greenpeace, Global Witness and OECD Watch.
The Thun Group document develops a conceptual framework for the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Transnational Corporations and Human Rights for banks in a context of corporate and investment banking. This document misrepresents principle 13.
The letter requests that the Thun Group demonstrate that it is prepared to participate in the OECD Proactive Agenda Project in good faith by amending the document they have issued and making it clear that it recognizes and respects the advice of the Office of the High Commissioner for United Nations for Human Rights.
The guiding principles are a set of guidelines agreed upon by the international community as a guideline that guides both States in their work to protect human rights and companies in their duty to respect them. This work was led by Professor Ruggie. These principles were adopted unanimously in 2011 by the United Nations Human Rights Council.
In this context, on 21 February, Professor Ruggie of Harvard responded strongly to the Thun Group document. He is "deeply concerned" by the document and raises similar points to those of the open letter. "They can undermine attempts by banks and others to fulfill their responsibility to respect human rights." In addition, he adds that:
"It is a good example that a group of large banks are doing important work on the application of UNGPs to their sector. But I am afraid that misinterpretation of the basic elements of UNGPs and their implications in this document can seriously damage I would urge the Group to reflect on these issues and consider the possibility of issuing a future document more in line with the basic elements of the UNGPs."
"The efforts of the Thun Group to explore the practical implications of the UNGPs are welcome ... However, these instruments of practice that seek to interpret the meaning of UNGPs in a sector-specific context should be subject to a consultation process And review by other stakeholders in order to ensure accuracy, soundness and legitimacy. "
Victoria Gerbaldo / Encargada de Proyectos del Área de Gobernabilidad Global