A new joint report highlights the need to create a new international and legally binding instrument which would hold transnational corporations accountable for human rights abuses. The report, “Corporate Influence on the Business and Human Rights Agenda of the United Nations” by a number human rights groups calls for the international regulation of Transnational Corporations.
The calls have been happening since the 60s. In 1972 Chile's President Salvador Allende accused U.S. companies of intervening in Chile's internal affairs. At that time, representatives of first world countries highlighted the lack of effective supervision of Transnational Corporations (TNCs) indicating that it was a serious gap in international institutions. Corporate influence on the UN had increased after Kofi Annan had assumed the post of UN Secretary General in 1997.
Last September, the Ecuadorian government delivered a statement on behalf of 85 member states of the UN at the Human Rights council. Many civil society organizations called the Human Rights Council to get elaboration on the binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.
This new initiative sits within a long line of work to hold corporations accountable to the public. These new implementations were met with opposition. Corporate actors have been extremely successful in implementing public relations strategies and have helped present new enterprises as good corporate citizens who are looking to dialogue with Governments.
In spite of this opposition, the new UN Global Compact and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are examples of this approach based on consensus and dialogue with the corporate sector, which is in contrast to the regulatory approaches which attempt to hold corporations accountable.