Tag Archive for: Human Rights and Companies

The fifth session of the Intergovernmental Working Group was held in Geneva. In the negotiations on the revised draft of the binding Treaty on transnational corporations and their responsibility towards Human Rights, the official delegations of the UN member states, civil society and social movements and organizations participated.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

From October 14 to 18, the fifth session of the Intergovernmental Working Group on the revised draft of the binding treaty of transnational corporations regarding human rights (HR) was held in Geneva.

Of the sessions, not only the representatives of the Member States, but also civil society organizations (CSOs) and social movements participated. During the sessions, the Brazilian delegation, along with other delegations, raised the need for negotiations to be direct between States and without civil society; This was rejected not only by CSOs, but also by delegations from other States who highlighted the important role that CSOs have played during these 4 years of negotiations with their contributions to the binding treaty. The need for organizations to participate in the process to ensure that human rights in communities affected by transnational corporations are respected and remedied was also highlighted.

As a point in favor, the progress of the process in comparison with the first draft of the treaty (draft zero) was highlighted. However, many questions remain to be addressed since the new legal instrument would not be guaranteeing justice for communities affected by transnational corporations and, in addition, there are terms that continue to be too ambiguous and will lend themselves to the free interpretation of transnational corporations in disrepair. of the protection of human rights.

At the end of the week of negotiations in the framework of the fifth session, the sixth session was approved with a new version of the revised treaty for the year 2020. It is relevant to emphasize the need for the treaty to contemplate the victims and those affected by the Human rights violations caused by transnational corporations.

More information


Gonzalo Roza, gon.roza@fundeps.org

Durante los días 6 y 7 de Septiembre se desarrolló en la Facultad de Ciencias Económicas de la UNC la XII Jornada de Economía Crítica y la I Jornada de Economía Feminista

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

During the First Feminist Economy Conference, in which different themes related to feminist perspectives of the economy and the main issues of women in the current system were presented, we present the work “Care and (equal) opportunities for women in media companies and advertising agencies. ”The presentation analyzed the impact of care tasks on women workers in these sectors in Buenos Aires and Córdoba.

The work was based on research “Media organizations and gender: Equal opportunities for women and LGBTQ + people in companies, unions and universities” and “Advertising sector and gender: Advertising agencies, associations, unions and educational institutions analyzed with a feminist perspective ”That we carry out together with the Civil Association Communication for Equality with the support of the Heinrich Boll Foundation. One of the relevant points of the research focuses on the analysis of the distribution of care tasks.

According to official data, 88.9% of women participate in unpaid household chores, to which they dedicate 6.4 hours a day, while 57.9% of men declare having done them for a total of 3.4 hours . These figures show the rigid sexual division of labor that affects the professional development of women compared to their male peers. This reality is reproduced in all work areas and advertising agencies and media organizations, objects of our research, are no exception.

This prevailing inequality is, in turn, the product of the absence of public and / or business policies to mitigate the impact. According to the data investigated, in the media companies of Córdoba, the number of women hired under a fixed term, part-time or who are monotributistas, in relation to the total number of women is 10% higher than men, and the percentage of women who enter the media through internships is 57.14% more than men. This data includes the general picture that affects women (and diverse and dissident identities) in terms of their precariousness and job instability.

Surprisingly, the advertising industry shows a high percentage of hiring in dependency ratio (90%) and full time. Contracts with freelance mode or under the monotax regime, as well as part-time ones, are recorded in a low proportion. However, the home work format is identified on a small scale and is never formalized. In this sense, it is important to highlight how the implementation of this type of work is linked to care tasks. Well, although they are proposed as positive forms of labor flexibility, they result in precarious ways that mainly affect women, since it allows them to “reconcile” this work with the domestic one.

In view of this unfavorable panorama, the care policies in force in both industries reproduce the imbalances that exist at a general level in their allocation and distribution, especially affecting the autonomy of women, reducing their opportunities for professional development, becoming a fundamental factor in the perpetuation of gender gaps. This is because they reproduce the sexual division of labor and cover only women workers in a dependency relationship. This becomes problematic if we remember that it is women who have a higher rate of labor informality.

Both in media companies and in advertising agencies, the measures taken in relation to care are limited to following the provisions of the law, such as the granting of licenses, especially to women mothers during the early childhood of their children . However, we notice poor compliance with policies such as lactaries and nurseries. There are policies developed by companies that compensate for non-compliance with regulations with specific and informal reconciliation practices with different levels of flexibility. Some of them, we could consider them as exceeding the law, such as specific licenses, possibility of working from home or flexibility in the time of entry and / or departure, extension of the license without pay or the progressive reinstatement with enjoyment Of salary. In this context it is worth mentioning that, although these initiatives exist, some of them, such as home office, are scarce and respond to specific requests of each worker, with the majority being women who request them. After having participated in the historic first Feminist Economy Day in Córdoba, we celebrate the realization of these meetings where it is possible to rethink, discuss and deconstruct, from feminist currents, economic inequality, inequality of opportunities, discrimination and sexual division of job.


Ivana Sánchez and Luz Baretta


Cecilia Bustos Moreschi

We request the participation in the character of friend of the court (amicus curiae) in the case that must be resolved on the environmental problem that affects the neighbors of the production plant of the company “Porta Hnos.”

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

We submit a request to federal court No. 3 by Judge Miguel Vaca Narvaja, admission and participation as amicus curiae (friend of the court) in the cars “CRUZ, SILVIA MARCELA AND OTHER C / MINISTRY OF ENERGY AND MINING OF THE NATION S / ENVIRONMENTAL AMPARO (FCB 021076/2016)”, which are processed before said court, on the occasion of the environmental protection initiated by the neighbors of the Porta Hnos plant, against the polluting activity present there.

Continuing with the commitment around the problem that afflicts the neighbors of that of the Porta plant, on this occasion, through the Amicus Curiae Institute, we intend to provide the intervening Court with foundations of fact and law that we consider relevant for the purposes of an adequate weighting in relation to the interests at stake and a resolution of the problem respectful of the fundamental rights affected.

It should be remembered that the conflict to be resolved in the federal justice of this province, involves more than 25 neighbors of B ° San Antonio and members of the Citizen Assembly “UNITED NEIGHBORS IN DEFENSE OF A HEALTHY ENVIRONMENT – VUDAS” who initiated an action Amparo Ambiental group against the Ministry of Energy and Mining of the Nation (Secretariat of Hydrocarbons Resources) requesting the closure and final closure of the bioethanol plant of PORTA HNOS. S.A since the operation of this irreparably affects the health of the neighbors and the environment.

We consider participation in this case to be of fundamental importance since in the underlying conflict, fundamental human rights such as life, health and the environment are compromised. For this reason, the resolution must consider such extremes and, in this case, provide a judicial response that may mean an important judicial precedent in environmental matters.


Ananda Lavayen


Juan Bautista Lopez, juanbautistalopez@fundeps.org

The event will be held on September 12 and 13, 2019 in classroom 300 of the Faculty of Social Sciences (Constitution Headquarters) of the University of Buenos Aires.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

Transform work structures to transform content

After years of research on the advertising and journalism industries, from Fundeps, the Civil Association for Equality Communication and with the support of the Heinrich Boll Foundation, we consider it relevant to share the results obtained among the actors involved.

Our research shows that gender inequality within media companies, advertising agencies and related unions translates, among other issues, into the co-optation of symbolically and economically more relevant positions and positions held by men. In turn, vocational training institutions have a limited academic offer in gender issues.

This acquires particular relevance due to the key role of these industries in the formation of opinion and cultural mandates.

At this point, it becomes necessary to observe and discuss labor practices and behaviors within these spaces, understanding them as organizational structures. The aim is to promote the construction of inclusive, democratic workspaces, where diverse gender identities participate in the production of sexism-free content and in decision-making positions.

The objective of the event is to generate a sensitization and capacity building, meeting and articulation instance, but also to discuss gender policies in both industries, calling on media companies, advertising agencies, educational institutions, unions and business associations , to workers in the sector, civil society organizations and the State.

The Forum is aimed at these mentioned sectors and those who seek to transform communication and related work spaces from a gender perspective.

Agenda and panels

Participants from the sector of Córdoba and Buenos Aires and more than 20 communicators, publicists and journalists from the country will participate, with the purpose of incorporating a federal perspective on gender policies in journalism and advertising and in order to generate lines of action and impact throughout the country.

On September 12, the Forum will be opened by the institutions that organize it and in which Luciana Peker will make a keynote talk: “The feminist tide in advertising and journalism”.

On Friday 13, between 9 and 18 hours, panels-workshops will be held in which some of the critical axes identified in both industries will be addressed: Care policies; Labor Rights and Unionization; Journalism and Gender; Advertising and gender.

Participation in the Forum is free but admission must complete this registration form.

More information to info@fundeps.org

Circular I National Forum on Gender Policies in Journalism and Advertising

At the fourth session of the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group on Business and Human Rights, different actors presented their comments and proposals on the ‘zero’ draft of the legally binding international instrument. Fundeps made recommendations and questions about certain axes of the draft, relevant to guarantee the fulfillment of human rights by transnational companies. Based on the comments made, on July 17, the Intergovernmental Working Group presented the new Revised Draft.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

In 2014, the UN Human Rights Council issued two resolutions, one of which ordered the establishment of an intergovernmental working group responsible for developing a binding treaty on business and human rights. The second resolution, of the same year, requested the UN working group to prepare a report containing the benefits and limitations of legally binding instruments.

From there, the work group sessions began. The first one was held in 2016 and the second in 2017, where Ecuador presented the document ‘Elements for the Legally Binding International Instrument Project on Transnational Corporations and other companies with respect to Human Rights’. In these sessions, the intergovernmental working group focused on improving the content, scope, nature and form of the potential international instrument to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other companies in the fulfillment and respect of human rights.

In the third session, in 2018, the working group published the Zero Zero Draft ’of the Binding Treaty; The elements for preparing a draft of a legally binding instrument were discussed taking into account the discussions held in the first two sessions.

Last year, in the fourth session, calls for comments and proposals were made on the draft of the binding treaty. The presentations were made by some States such as Chile, Colombia and the Philippines, non-governmental organizations with consultative status and other stakeholders such as civil society organizations, including Fundeps. The document on the ‘zero’ draft, presented by the foundation, is divided into general and specific comments.

The general comments made by Fundeps cover different aspects that have not been taken into account in the document and that are extremely relevant to ensure that transnational corporations guarantee and respect human rights. Among the comments, the absence in the Treaty of commercial activities that are supported by the States, the high relevance given to the remedy of damages and rights of the victims that, although it is extremely positive, are even more necessary a priori are measures prevention to prevent companies from violating human rights. With prevention there would be no need to remedy any damage caused since these would not exist if they were well regulated.

On the other hand, the draft Treaty only establishes a binding component for the States, but companies are not given responsibility. Therefore, not only does it not make them obliged subjects, which was the initial idea, but they will respond before the laws that the States implement in this matter. In addition, the creation of a court or other institution that has the capacity to judge and penalize the actions of transnational corporations is absent.

Finally, in the general comments of Fundeps, the absence of the sections on ‘corporate obligations’, ‘state obligations’ and the obligations of international organizations, which are fundamental elements to guarantee the fulfillment of rights, is highlighted Humans versus business activity.

Specific comments were made in accordance with the sections of the draft. According to the preamble, it is recommended to include the relationship with other international conventions and recognize ‘Corporate Capture’ as a global issue that undermines human rights. In addition, the absence of guiding principles on business and human rights as an immediate precedent of the treaty is questioned. , as well as the lack of recognition of the danger situation of human rights defenders. Regarding the purpose of the Treaty, it is recommended that the purpose of the document should be the guarantee of human rights and incorporate as an objective of the addressed the resolution of power imbalances between corporations and affected communities.

Finally, in Prevention, the componente Gender ’and conflict of interest component should be incorporated into all due diligence measures. In addition, these measures must ensure transparency in the interactions of transnational corporations with state authorities, and the protection of human rights defenders through specific and reinforced protection mechanisms.

New Draft: progress?

The Intergovernmental Working Group, in charge of drafting the document, has made progress in its development. Consequently, on July 17 they presented the Revised Draft of the binding treaty to regulate the activities of transnational corporations and other commercial companies regarding human rights. This version was made according to the recommendations and comments proposed by the different actors convened in the fourth session last year. This draft will be discussed in the fifth session, which will take place between October 14 and 18 of this year.

At first glance, the new draft of the binding treaty has modified the formulation, which, in the words of Hood and Hughes-Jennett, is rather ambiguous. Thus, in Article 3 of the draft, its application has been extended to “all commercial activities”, that is, it will no longer be limited to those of a transnational nature. However, the definition developed in Article 1 on commercial activities leaves those that are purely national in scope of the treaty. A positive development in the project has been the elimination of the requirement that commercial activity should be limited to all those that were carried out “for profit”.

On the other hand, the new Article 6 of the draft treaty incorporates a new provision where States will have responsibility for not preventing damage that the party with whom they have a contractual relationship has caused third parties, regardless of where the damage occurs ( Hood & Hughes-Jennett, 2019).

From the perspective of due diligence, an improvement in the draft has been observed, since the States are not only obliged to regulate commercial companies within their territory where they are obliged to respect and prevent violations of DD.HH .; now in the project it is clarified that the legislation must be introduced to make the due diligence of human rights mandatory and, in addition, companies must be obliged to acquire the appropriate measures to prevent violations or abuses of human rights. It represents a breakthrough because it means a convergence with the UN Guiding Principles (Hood & Hughes-Jennett, 2019).

With regard to legal-criminal liability, the Revised Draft has eliminated the provision on universal jurisdiction and instead has incorporated a new provision that establishes the jurisdiction of territorial, active and passive nationality. Therefore, the states will be disabled to exercise jurisdiction in those behaviors that do not constitute a criminal offense, in accordance with international law in situations where there is no conventional jurisdictional link with the crime (Hood & Hughes-Jennett, 2019) .

Consequently, we must wait and observe the decisions that occur in the fifth session on the Revised Draft. While the incorporation of some recommendations and a closeness to the Guiding Principles on business and human rights is observed, there is still a shortening of distances between the Revised Draft and the Guiding Principles; since these have been the initial kick representing a fundamental advance in the normative criteria on the responsibility and the accountability of the transnational companies. There are still issues that are not clearly defined in the revised draft, which means that transnational corporations continue without being fully obliged to respect and guarantee Human Rights.

Más información:


Sofia Brocanelli


Gonzalo Roza gon.roza@fundeps.org



Last Thursday, June 27, we presented our report on gender and publicity at the Open University of Rosario, invited by members of the governing body and teacher of the advertising career.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

After years of research in communication and gender issues together with Comunicación para la Igualdad, we have arrived at results that highlight the unequal terrain faced by women and dissidents in the advertising field. For this reason, we understand the importance of disseminating this information in order to generate a positive impact in terms of gender equality within the advertising industry.

That is how on Thursday, June 27, the Open University of Rosario (UAI) opened its doors for the presentation of the report “Advertising sector and gender.” The invitation came from the Director of the Advertising Career, María Virginia Beduino and one of its most committed teachers on the subject, Mariángeles Camusso who, in addition, coordinates the Advertising Observatory on Sexism of the University.

Throughout the more than two hours of the presentation, conclusions were presented that enabled the debate and intervention of the participants. Together with the institution, the proposal was to generate a space for meeting and reflection on the future scope of student employment, to discuss the current trajectories of educational spaces, as well as to learn about the experiences of those who are already working.

During the dialogue different points of view and experiences of those who make up the advertising industry and its related sectors were shared: students, workers, teachers, representatives of advertising agencies and academia.

In the presentation, emphasis was placed on the need to know and address machismo and gender inequality within the advertising industry, since research on this subject is scarce, especially with an eye toward the interior of the country.

In these spaces, where invisibility prevails and, therefore, the reproduction of gender violence and stereotypes, sexism and gender gaps in the access of women to hierarchical positions and masculinized areas were known.

We identify that women are the majority (58%) among those who graduate from advertising careers. Then, when entering the advertising agencies, we noticed that among the people who work there there is a relative parity: 49.5% of female presence and 50.5% of males.

However, inequality is perceived in vertical and horizontal segregation, since men occupy the majority of the positions of hierarchy and the highest-paid and symbolically most relevant areas. Men constitute 83.5% of the property and managerial positions in advertising agencies, 68% of business chambers and 92% of those who direct creative areas. Even in areas such as Accounts where the female presence is 67%, in most cases it is directed by men (72.5%).

The area with the greatest female presence, both among its workers and in its directorates, is Administration or Finance, more orderly in terms of hours, although less valued in terms of salaries and possibilities of promotion.

In the educational field, there are no compulsory subjects on gender and in the agencies only 15% have carried out training on the subject.

Faced with these conclusions, we emphasize the importance of generating spaces for debate in educational institutions linked to the training of advertising professionals, since they allow us to raise concerns, denaturalize inequality and think about actions for the transformation of these spaces. The institutional openness of the UAI and the commitment of its teachers to address inequalities and gender violence in the advertising industry is a notable step towards its prevention and eradication from the zero point. We invite all the actors involved in the advertising industry to advance towards the eradication of gender-based violence.


Mila Francovich

Cecilia Bustos Moreschi


Cecilia Bustos Moreschi, cecilia.bustos.moreschi@fundeps.org

Although women are half of the world’s adult population, men continue to occupy leadership positions, hierarchical positions and better paid jobs. The salary difference in your favor is one of the most difficult injustices to make visible and change.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

In Argentina, according to the indices provided by the INDEC and the Ministry of Labor, Employment and Social Security of the Nation, the gender wage gap in 2018 was 27.5%. Therefore, the women had to work one year and three months to get the same as them in just one year. And that gap is even greater if we talk about unregistered workers, since in those cases the difference reaches 36% less compared to the salaries of informal workers.

No work environment is excluded from the aforementioned statistics. This is demonstrated by the reports on the Media and Advertising Agencies carried out by the Fundeps Gender team, in which it was possible to establish what were some of the causes that generated this gap.

According to the data collected in our research on gender and media, only the Clarín Group recognized a 20% wage gap between men and women, while the other companies, both public and private, said that for the same task is paid equal remuneration. Although this was not manifested by almost half of the workers, they did observe discretionary situations in the allocation of salaries. The most common cases we could see were: “radio operators who charge more than their female colleagues on private radios; men who occupy the best rankings in public media, or promotions that do not respect professional careers but are based on gender identities” (see full report).

Regarding the advertising agencies, we observed that women received 21% lower salaries in the hierarchical positions and that in relation to the positions of male employees the total gap amounted to 46% (see full report). This gap it deepens and aggravates more if we take into account that the advertising industry has a female participation parity.

When we ask ourselves why there is a gender wage gap, we understand that they are a bunch of factors that cause it to reproduce and affect us. Within the scope of the media and advertising agencies, several of these factors were identified: the forms of hiring that imply a precarious employment especially for women; the glass ceiling that prevents them from accessing positions of higher rank and salary; That same lack of women in leadership positions that demotivates others to try to aspire to them and the allocation of issues that are not remunerated by media companies.

The sexual division of labor that assigns to women the tasks of care and the home, is one of the biggest sources of wage gap between men and women. Since they spend the most time on reproductive work (invisible and unpaid), they have less time to study, train and work outside the home. This poverty of time makes it difficult for them to access full-time contracts, extended working hours (overtime), which are what often mark the salary difference, in many cases they must accept more flexible jobs (usually precarious and worse payments) and, usually, they end up facing a double working day: they work inside and outside the house.

These causes are transversal and can be observed in other work areas. It is for all this that, in reference to the day of equal pay, we demand economic policies with a gender perspective, which help to close the wage gap and that fight in this way the historical injustice suffered by working women.


Valentina Montero


Cecilia Bustos Moreschi, cecilia.bustos.moreschi@fundeps.org

On March 15, China accepted 284 of the recommendations made in its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR) before the United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC). These are aimed at preventing human rights violations in the field of their investments abroad. Undoubtedly, this is an unprecedented event.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The People’s Republic of China (China) undertook, before the United Nations, to respect human rights in its investments abroad. It accepted 82% of the recommendations made by dozens of countries in its third Universal Periodic Review (UPR).

The UPR is an evaluation conducted every four and a half years by the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR). It allows rating the behavior of each member state when implementing the UN human rights treaties.

Here are some of the most relevant recommendations that were accepted:

  1. Promote measures that guarantee that development and infrastructure projects, within and outside of their territory, are fully compatible with human rights and respectful of the environment and the sustainability of natural resources, in accordance with national and international law applicable and with the commitments of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development (Ecuador);
  2. Consider the possibility of establishing a legal framework to guarantee that the activities carried out by the industries subject to their jurisdiction do not undermine human rights abroad (Peru);
  3. Adopt new measures on business and human rights in accordance with their international obligations and ensure that companies operating in high risk or conflict areas conduct due diligence on human rights in accordance with the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (State of Palestine);
  4. Continue to apply Chinese laws, regulations and standards, such as the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, to Chinese companies that operate beyond the borders of China (Kenya);

The Chinese delegation said that its opening to host the aforementioned recommendations “fully demonstrates China’s determination and its open and active attitude towards the promotion and protection of human rights.” However, China must inform in two years in its Mid-Term Review before the UNHRC, the progress achieved after the implementation of these recommendations. In addition, you will need to develop an action plan to ensure that your companies and investors respect the rights of local communities and the environment.

María Marta Di Paola of the Environment and Natural Resources Foundation (FARN), expressed that “this commitment should not be considered a paper promise; On the contrary, social organizations around the world must take the floor to the Chinese State, keep vigilant and report to the Chinese embassies and CDHNU when there are violations in the Chinese projects, and demand redress for the violated rights of the victims and the environment “.

It should be noted that last year the Collective on Financing and Chinese Investments, Human Rights and Environment (CICDHA) presented a report in the framework of the UPR, along with 17 other Latin American NGOs, examining 18 projects with Chinese participation in Ecuador, Peru, Bolivia, Brazil and Argentina. The report showed that Chinese companies and banks have systematically violated several rights protected by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and other United Nations instruments.

What happened in Geneva on March 15 is an unprecedented event that must be celebrated. Likewise, it is important to remember that the results obtained must be largely attributed to the hard work done by numerous civil society organizations in the region and the world.

More information

Video: Consideration of the Universal Periodic Review outcome of China

Report: Evaluation of the Extraterritorial Obligations of the People’s Republic of China from Civil Society: Cases of Argentina, Bolivia, Brazil, Ecuador and Peru


Melanie Mackenzie


Gonzalo Roza, gon.roza@fundeps.org

Agustina Palencia, agustinapalencia@fundeps.org

On February 22, the Federal Court of Appeals of Córdoba, by majority vote, decided to revoke the resolution issued by the Federal Court No. 3 of Córdoba in the context of the Porta Hermanos case. In that resolution, studies were ordered on environmental contamination and possible pathologies present in the vicinity of the plant of Porta Hermanos S.A.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The Federal Court of Appeals made the appeal filed by the company Porta Hermanos SA, revoking the ruling by the Federal Court No. 3 in which the case is processed “CRUZ, SILVIA MARCELA AND OTHERS v MINISTERIO DE ENERGÍA Y MINERÍA DE THE NATION s / AMPARO ENVIRONMENTAL “. In this resolution Judge Vaca Narvaja ordered, on the one hand, the Environmental Research Center – Department of Chemistry of the Faculty of Exact Sciences of the National University of La Plata to inform the court the feasibility of carrying out a study on the possible environmental contamination at the Porta plant, and on the other hand, to the Dean of the Faculty of Medical Sciences of the same University in order to evaluate the possibility of carrying out an inspection on 100 people living in the vicinity of the plant to detect possible pathologies .

The majority vote, maintains that the aforementioned resolution violates the principle of procedural consistency since the measures ordered by the judge of first instance, do not correlate with the object of the amparo filed by those affected. Recall that the principle of procedural consistency implies that the court can not go beyond what was requested by the parties or base its decision on facts different from those that have been alleged by the parties. In this case, the Chamber also maintains that, even though the intervening judge is assisted by the powers provided for in Article 32 of Law 25,675 – which refer to a judge with an active role, concerned about the protection of a collective good such as is the environment-, they must be applied with restrictions. According to the court, these powers are limited only to knowledge of the positions of the parties, thus giving primacy to the principle of congruence over such powers.

Given this panorama, it is necessary to make certain precisions:

The vote analyzed, maintains that the purpose of the amparo revolves around elucidating whether the bioethanol plant of the company Porta Hermanos required:

  • Authorization to operate by the Ex Secretariat of Energy of the Nation
  • Conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment procedure before putting it into operation

The principle of congruence, the precautionary principle and the environmental perspective.

First, from the reading of the same resolution, it is clear that the “environmental protection” presented by the neighbors, has as its main object the “cessation of atmospheric environmental pollution” by the bioethanol plant of the company Porta Hermanos SA In this line, it is requested the closure and final closure of the plant attentive to not having complied with the procedure of Environmental Impact Assessment – “lack of legal authorization”. Well, if the claim focuses on the cessation of environmental pollution, it is fully consistent to determine the existence of such a phenomenon. Indeed, it would be impossible to stop a contamination, which in the facts has not been fully proven.

Without prejudice to this, the precautionary principle comes into play since, even in the face of uncertainty, the judge could not postpone effective measures for the protection of the environment. In the resolution analyzed here, the majority vote ignores the claim of the amparistas, which is closely linked to the measures ordered by the Federal Judge, not violating the principle of congruence.

The administrative authorizations can not be permits to pollute.

Second, even when the object of environmental protection is that identified by the Chamber, that is, the need for a legal authorization, it is necessary to consider that what underlies the formal administrative procedures for authorization is the protection of the environment. Thus, the formal permits constitute a presumption of safety of the activity enabled but do not imply a permission to pollute and damage the environment, so that, upon verification of a polluting activity, such presumption must yield.

In other words, the debate on the need for an authorization or not, basically, involves discussing whether such activity harms the environment in a way that would have required the prevention and / or management of damage through the impact assessment procedures environmental (in accordance with the provisions of Art. 11 of Law 25,675). Therefore, even in such an object, the measures ordered by the federal judge of the 1st Instance, are fully congruent.

The preventive role of the courts in environmental processes.

In the third place, the assertion made by the Chamber that the principle of procedural consistency prevails over the powers granted by Art. 32 of Law 25,675 (L.G.A), is questionable, if not erroneous.

In the processes where the environmental issue is debated, because of the well protected, the rights at stake and the particularity of the damage, it is necessary that the traditional procedural rules (read principle of congruence) are redefined from the environmental and human rights perspective. The judge acquires a preventive role and an active role in pursuit of the effective protection of the general interest, being able to adopt the necessary measures and measures (Art. 32 L.G.A). In such a role, the judge must act in favor of the protection of the general environmental interest, which acquires a preeminent value, modifying the traditional rules of the civil process, in order to prevent environmental damage, without falling into the stillness of allowing the pollution and thereby consolidate irreparable environmental damage. Under this pre-eminence, the principle of congruence is subverted, or cedes in favor of environmental protection.

It should be noted that the resolution adopted by the Federal Court of Appeals of Córdoba, is questionable as it erroneously defines the object of environmental protection as merely formal (determine the need for legal authorization), and ignores principles and fundamental rules of Argentine environmental public order. In addition, in this case the resolution revoked simply ordered measures to have more information of the current situation, something that has been the cause of successive public complaints by neighbors in the neighborhoods San Antonio and Inaudi.

It is unfortunate that a formalistic look away from reality prevents having more information, in order to better investigate and evaluate a situation of socio-environmental conflict that has been in our city for years.

More information


Juan Bautista Lopez

  • Contact

María Pérez Alsina, mariaperezalsina@fundeps.org

We participated in the call of the Working Group on the Gender Perspective in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, in order to comment from our experience on the relationship between business activities and women’s rights.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other companies, operating within the framework of the United Nations, made a call for civil society organizations to send their comments on the relevant issues regarding impact. of business activity in the human rights of women. For this, we elaborate comments from the point of view of our work agendas, to comment on the situation of health impacts, on the participation of women in companies, and on women and the media.

First, we address how women experience the impact of human rights abuses related to companies differently and disproportionate, exposing the cases of the tobacco industry and breast milk substitutes. Both industries, with their particularities, have aggressive marketing strategies. The tobacco industry especially targets young women in cigarette consumption through strategies such as flavored cigarettes or “light” or sponsorship of fashion events. On the side of the breast-milk substitution industry, they also operate with misleading marketing and labeling strategies on the characteristics of the products, as well as having great interference in public policies – in a situation of conflict of interest – discouraging breastfeeding. maternal and its replacement by the formula from an early age.

On the other hand, financing for development provided by international financial institutions to the private sector also has environmental, social, health, access to infrastructure and housing, and indigenous rights, which affect women in particular. The IFIs in general have difficulties and failures in the implementation of their policies, and particularly in the design and application of gender policies. We emphasize then that policies in general, and particularly those on gender, should be strengthened so that they establish clear guidelines for clients (especially companies and other private entities) to apply differentiated impact assessments, and also strengthen accountability mechanisms to give effective remedies when there are negative impacts.

Finally, we also exposed all the difficulties and barriers that women face to participate in jobs in the private sector, with information obtained through our research on equal opportunities for women and LGTTBIQ + people in companies, unions and universities. We also send recommendations on how media and advertising industries could fight against gender stereotypes and the disempowerment of women.
More information:
Carolina Tamagnini – carotamagnini@fundeps.org





During the week of October 15 to 19, the sessions of the Intergovernmental Working Group of the Human Rights Council of the United Nations took place. This group meets for the fourth time, and the discussions around a draft for the adoption of a binding treaty that seeks to regulate the activity of transnational corporations and their effects on human rights.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”

A draft text for the ‘Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights’ was finally submitted in mid July. This document was launched in Geneva, within the framework of the mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group on Business and Human Rights, which indicated that a binding treaty on this matter should be developed. The sessions in October, took as a starting point for the debate, that ‘Zero Draft’.

The immediate antecedent of this draft was the document known as “Elements of the Treaty” that circulated at the end of 2017 and was discussed at the third session of the Intergovernmental Group in October of that same year. Subsequently, these ‘Elements’ were submitted for public consultation and comments were received until February 2018. Once the process was closed, the construction of a text for the 4th session was left.

About the ‘Zero Draft’

At first glance, the essential difference between both documents (the treaty and the elements), is the disappearance of the term ‘other companies’ when it refers to the subjects susceptible of judicial responsibility. The debate over the inclusion of other companies besides those of a transnational nature was strongly opposed. This, since it was considered that this treaty should only focus on those companies that have activities in two or more national jurisdictions because those that only acted in one State, were subject to national regulatory regimes. However, it should be noted that Article 4 of the draft defines ‘transnational business activities’ as any productive or commercial activity that takes place in two or more national jurisdictions. This reference could also be interpreted for those business activities carried out in a single State but that could be transnationalized due to their inclusion in a value chain.

Likewise, the preamble of the document does not include in its entirety what had been proposed in the draft elements of the treaty. The document published at the end of last year mentioned, among other things, the importance of referencing the Guiding Principles, the rules on the responsibility of transnational corporations and the pressing situation regarding the negative impacts of business activity on human rights. The draft treaty, in its preamble, fails to recognize all the elements that frame the process of creating this binding instrument.

In a second instance, it is important to mention that the draft text highlights the responsibility of the State as the first and only protector of Fundamental Rights in the face of corporate actions, although it ignores the possible damage caused to the commercial activity of nations. In this sense, those commercial activities that are supported by the States (generally public private investments) do not have a reception in this treaty.

The draft also surprises because of the relevance given to the remediation of damages and the rights of the victims, given the urgent need to prevent companies from violating human rights. This disparity between the remedy and prevention was noted by civil society in the ‘Elements’ document, and criticized as it is necessary that the damages caused by business activity be prevented in the same way as the provision of compensation to the victims.

Despite the strong focus on the ‘effective remedy’, the draft adopts an article on prevention; in which it is important to mention the obligation to establish legislation that obliges companies to take due diligence actions. Including environmental and human rights assessments to analyze their activities and take the necessary actions to prevent damage.

Now, it is clear that the draft proposes a binding component for the States, in the sense that it forces them to adopt legislation that ensures respect for Human Rights against business activity. However, the text does not evidence the responsibility of the companies and this is because the treaty will not make them obligated subjects but through the laws that the States will implement. In this regard, the possibility of creating a ‘tribunal’ or another similar institution that has the capacity to judge and penalize the actions of transnational companies disappears.

The draft of the treaty did not include the chapter on ‘Obligations of companies’ that was found in the ‘Elements’; nor were the obligations of international organizations included.

An important element that appears in the draft is the ‘International Fund for Victims’, whose objective is to collaborate with the effective remediation to the damages caused by the business activity.

About the 4th session

After the 4th session of the Intergovernmental Working Group, the polarization of opinions between the countries of the ‘north’ and the global ‘south’ has become evident. The countries belonging to the BRICS block, together with most of the African continents and Latin American; have shown a positive response to the initiative of a legally binding instrument. However, representatives of the European Union, the United States of America, Japan, Australia and Canada, in addition to not having been present at the negotiations, have made clear their refusal to endorse the creation of the aforementioned treaty.

This polarization has relevant effects on the effective force that an instrument of these characteristics can have. Since most of the transnational corporations that would be forced by this text, stay in the States that today pronounce themselves in a manner opposite to the treaty, the protection of human rights against the activity of transnational corporations would not be completely insured .

There are still no certainties about how the process will continue after this fourth session and it is also not clear how civil society will be included in it. According to the ‘Global Campaign to Stop Corporate Impunity’, the following are the points recommended to the Intergovernmental Group, to give continuity to the negotiations:

  1. The future treaty should be aimed at Transnational Corporations (TNCs) and other companies with transnational activities, in accordance with the mandate given to the Intergovernmental Working Group in resolution 26/9.
  2. The future treaty must contain direct obligations for NCDs. It must also establish the joint and several liability of the parent companies with the entities throughout its global production chain (subsidiaries, subcontractors, suppliers, etc.).
  3. The future treaty should provide for an international enforcement mechanism with effective and binding enforcement powers. In this regard, the Global Campaign proposes the creation of an International Court to prosecute TNCs that commit human rights violations and an International Monitoring Center for TNCs.
  4. The future treaty must clearly establish the primacy of human rights obligations over trade or investment agreements.
  5. The future treaty should include concrete measures against the influence of TNCs in the process of formulating public policies at the international and national levels.
  6. The effective participation of civil society in all stages of negotiations on the draft treaty and the safeguarding of the process of influence of TNCs and their representatives.


Agustina Palencia


More Information:

We present comments on the draft treaty on business and human rights.

Advancing towards a binding treaty on transnational corporations and human rights.

Zero Draft Binding Treaty

Report prepared by the Healthy Latin American Coalition (CLAS) was presented in the framework of a public consultation opened by the Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, Cultural and Environmental Rights (REDESCA) of the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (CIDH), with the to prepare a thematic report on inter-American standards in the area of ​​business and human rights.

“Below, we offer a google translate version of the original article in Spanish. This translation may not be accurate but serves as a general presentation of the article. For more accurate information, please switch to the Spanish version of the website. In addition, feel free to directly contact in English the person mentioned at the bottom of this article with regards to this topic”.

The growing number of cases of human rights abuses and violations committed by companies has led to the treatment of the problem by the international community for some years now. In this context and within the framework of the inter-American system, the IACHR considered gathering information from different interested parties for the purpose of preparing a report that considers the regional reality, and that analyzes and systematizes the inter-American obligations and standards, in order to finally make recommendations on the matter.

Report presented by CLAS, a network that groups around 300 organizations in Latin America of which FUNDEPS is a part, focuses specifically on analyzing the link between companies and chronic noncommunicable diseases (NCDs).

Thus, first, the report provides information on the impact of these diseases in the region, with special mention to the involvement of vulnerable groups. Secondly, the power of influence of companies in the process of formulation of norms and public policies is analyzed, as an obstacle when adopting, executing and advancing in health policies to prevent and reduce the impact of chronic noncommunicable diseases. . In this regard, the cases of the tobacco industry, the food industry and the alcoholic beverage industry are cited as examples.

The document also warns that the current regulations and action plans sanctioned by governments focus on the prevention of the risk factors of these diseases, without including a more general perspective on human rights and companies. It observes that only some countries have made slight progress in this regard, despite the fact that international evidence shows that the most effective measures to reduce the consumption of unhealthy products are those that control the actions of the companies that manufacture and promote these products; especially in relation to marketing and promotion strategies.

Beyond the efforts of Latin American governments to move forward with legislation for the prevention of NCDs, the intervention of companies in the design and implementation of public policies, as well as the lobby of the industry, constitute a great obstacle to effective implementation of norms that prevent the population from the health consequences of consuming unhealthy products.

Currently, at the international level, there are non-binding instruments and mechanisms that aim to protect human rights from the irresponsible actions of companies. These include: the United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the OECD guidelines and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Similarly, the work of the IACHR has focused on the search for the prevalence of fundamental rights against the power of corporations; and that is why this thematic report takes on a fundamental character. In this context, also, in the last three years, at the initiative of some States, it has begun to debate the possibility of having an international treaty that effectively forces companies to comply with and guarantee respect for human rights. We believe that an instrument with these characteristics would reinforce the existing regulations, while at the same time ending the abuses perpetrated.

More information

Report presented by CLAS


Agustina Mozzoni, <agustinamozzoni@fundeps.org>