In June 26, 2014, the Human Rights Council of the United Nations (HRC) adopted resolution 26/9, which established an open-ended intergovernmental working group with the mandate to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations (TNCs) and other business enterprises with respect to human rights. Among the triggers for this initiative, the current international legal order evidences gaps and imbalances with respect to the relationship between human rights and corporations, particularly when dealing with victims’ access to justice and effective remedy in cases of human rights abuses perpetrated by corporations. As evidence shows, some of those abuses remain in impunity, and non-binding rules, while useful, have not been enough to bring justice to victims.
Following resolution 26/9, the working group held its first session in Geneva, from 6 to 10 July 2015, and the second took place from 24 to 28 October 2016, both under the chairmanship of Ecuador. The two sessions were structured in different panels covering the possible principles for a legally binding instrument, the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the coverage of the instrument with respect to the objective and subjective scope, the obligations of States, the responsibilities and liability of TNCs and other business enterprises, and the design of national and international mechanisms for access to remedy for victims of human rights abuses perpetrated by TNCs and other business enterprises.