Submission on the Draft General Comment on “State Obligations Under the ICESCR in the Context of Business Activities”
In January 2017 CCSI made a submission to the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, regarding its draft General Comment on “State obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the Context of Business Activities.” CCSI’s submission focused on: (1) host and home states’ obligations as they relate to international investment agreements (IIAs); (2) extraterritorial obligations in the context of outward investment; and (3) state obligations related to corruption issues.
In the submission, CCSI emphasized that states must ensure that existing treaties do not generate conflicts between obligations owed under IIAs and the Covenant (in addition to refraining from concluding any future agreements that would infringe upon or limit a state’s ability to respect, protect, and fulfill Covenant rights). The submission also stressed the need to ensure transparency of arbitral proceedings, and mechanisms for doing so. In addition, CCSI’s submission highlighted that the extraterritorial obligation to respect also extends to ensuring that home states’ own policies do not encourage or incentivize outward investment that is likely to lead to violations of Covenant rights. It also called for greater articulation of what steps states could take to ensure that corruption does not interfere with their obligations under the Covenant.