Affected Communities and their Right to Development Must be Central to the Treaty

The South African NGO the Legal Resources Centre (LRC) provided a submission for the second IGWG meeting on 24-28 October 2016 focusing on:

  1. The need to include the right to development as recognised in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights as a core principle of the binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights ("Treaty").

  2. Participation by affected communities in the Treaty development process in accordance with the right to development.

The LRC made the following specific recommendations to IGWG:

  • The human right to development, as contained in the African Charter on Human and Peoples' Rights ("African Charter") and as given content by the African Commission on Human and Peoples' Rights ("African Commission"), must be included as a founding principle and right in the Treaty, and expressly apply to all peoples.

  • The Treaty must require the free, prior and informed consent of affected communities as an ongoing requirement for development projects in the full meaning of the right, that is, both procedural and substantive. This includes the protection of peoples' right to full and timely disclosure of all relevant information prior to the approval of the project, of local decision making processes and the right to say no to a project.

  • The Treaty should expressly recognise customary land and natural resource rights of affected communities as ownership rights, whether documented or not, and provide for appropriate compensation and reparation where applicable.

  • Communities from around the globe who are, or might be, adversely affected by corporate activity must be at the centre of the development of the Treaty, including all associated discussions and negotiations.

Access the submission here: http://lrc.org.za/lrcarchive/images/pdfdownloads/LawPolicyReform/201609_ 30LRCSubmissionIGWG2ndSessionFINAL.pdf.