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Making a Killing

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We’d love to share how your support is having a positive impact on people's lives, and other ways you can help people live free from fear.

We need an International Treaty that holds big business to account for human rights abuses

Some private companies are responsible for threats, violent attacks and even murder in the  pursuit of their profits.

Last year, 247 human rights defenders were murdered for defending their land, indigenous peoples and environmental rights.

These abuses of human rights must be stopped!

One way to help stop them is the creation of an International Treaty on Business and Human Rights, which would hold private companies to account for their actions.

2019 is a crucial year to develop this treaty. But right now, it is unclear whether Ireland/the UK will support it.

Ask your elected representatives; ‘Will Ireland/the UK support the creation of this crucial treaty in 2019’?

You can read the "Making a Killing" report here.

Dear Deputy

I am writing as your constituent to ask you to stand with the many vulnerable communities in the poorest parts of our world who are at risk because of the actions of private companies.

On my behalf, Deputy, please ask the Tánaiste, ‘what is his plan to support a UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights in 2019.’

In the Polochic Valley in northern Guatemala, indigenous Qeqchi communities are living in fear of being forcibly evicted again from lands that their ancestors lived on for hundreds of years. The persecution and forcible evictions of these communities continues with both national and multinational businesses including nickel mining, palm oil and sugar cane plantations implicated.

José Cuc Cuz (45) describes the night his community was evicted from their homes: ‘There were many, many police, army and security contractors at the eviction. I begged them not to burn my house and crops but they went ahead. They could have killed us but we ran away.’

The actions of irresponsible businesses including mining, logging and hydroelectric projects are resulting in the displacement of communities, pollution of land, destruction of livelihoods and loss of shelter, which is particularly impacting women and indigenous communities.

There has been a steep increase in serious threats and murder of human rights and land defenders. These brave women and men are questioning whether large-scale investment projects are good for people and planet and are calling for much greater corporate accountability. Since 2015 more than 1,400 activists working to address human rights abuses by private companies have been attacked. Last year, 247 people were murdered for defending land, indigenous peoples and environmental rights.

This must stop.

In October this year, the UN open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OEIGWG) will meet in Geneva to build on the initial draft of this treaty. This is the fifth session of the OEIGWG and Ireland has yet to proactively engage in the process. Ireland was silent while the EU disassociated itself from the conclusions and recommendations of the fourth session of the working group. Very worryingly (as of March 8th) the EU has even indicated that it will not have a negotiating mandate in order to constructively participate in the upcoming fifth session of the OEIGWG.  

Now is not a time for silence and disassociation. Now is the time for individual member states and the EU to share their ideas on what the draft treaty should include.

I would like you to ask the Tánaiste, Simon Coveney TD to:

1. provide constructive feedback on the current zero draft of the treaty.

2. participate in upcoming consultations organised by the Chair-Rapporteur of the OEIGWG.

3. attend and engage constructively at the fifth inter-governmental meeting of the OEIGWG in Geneva in October this year.

4. use Ireland’s influence to help ensure the EU participates with a negotiating mandate in the fifth session of the OEIGWG

Ireland has a strong track record in promoting human rights globally and has played a strong leadership role in promoting civil society space. The draft Treaty offers us the chance to shape clear global standards for responsible business practice. It is also an essential instrument that human rights defenders are calling for to protect the rights of their communities.

Please let me know if you can raise this request with the Tánaiste and if you receive a response.

Yours sincerely.

p.s. for more info on the UN Binding Treaty click here

Dear MP,

I am writing as your constituent to ask you to stand with the many vulnerable communities in the poorest parts of our world who are at risk because of the actions of private companies.

On my behalf, will you ask Lord Ahmad of Wimbledon, Minister of State for the Commonwealth and United Nations, what his plan is to engage constructively in the process to develop a UN Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights in 2019? 

In the Polochic Valley in northern Guatemala, indigenous Qeqchi communities are living in fear of being forcibly evicted again from lands that their ancestors lived on for hundreds of years. The persecution and forcible evictions of these communities continues with both national and multinational businesses including nickel mining, palm oil and sugar cane plantations implicated.

José Cuc Cuz (45) describes the night his community was evicted from their homes: ‘There were many, many police, army and security contractors at the eviction. I begged them not to burn my house and crops but they went ahead. They could have killed us but we ran away.’ 

The actions of irresponsible businesses including mining, logging and hydroelectric projects are resulting in the displacement of communities, pollution of land, destruction of livelihoods and loss of shelter, which is particularly impacting women and indigenous communities.

There has been a steep increase in serious threats and murder of human rights and land defenders. These brave women and men are questioning whether large-scale investment projects are good for people and planet and are calling for much greater corporate accountability. Since 2015 more than 1,400 activists working to address human rights abuses by private companies have been attacked. Last year, 247 people were murdered for defending land, indigenous peoples and environmental rights.

This must stop.

In October this year, the UN open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights (OWIGWG) will meet in Geneva to build on the initial draft of this Treaty. This is the fifth session of the OWIGWG and the UK has yet to constructively engage in the process. 

States have the chance now to share their ideas on what the draft Treaty should include. 

I would like you to ask Lord Ahmad to:

1. provide constructive feedback on the current zero draft of the Treaty.

2. participate in upcoming consultations organised by the

Chair-Rapporteur of the OWIGWG 

3. participate and engage constructively at the fifth inter-governmental meeting of the OWIGWG in Geneva in October this year.

The draft Treaty offers us the chance to shape clear global standards for responsible business practice. As a leading country for registration and listing of transnational enterprises, the UK has an important role to play in supporting this process. Despite our own turbulent times, we must not forget the communities who live in fear of being forced off their land because of the actions of irresponsible businesses. 

Please let me know if you can raise this request with Lord Ahmad and if you receive a response.

Yours sincerely,

p.s. for more info on the UN Binding Treaty click here