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[Introduction. The proposed treaty below has been circulated internationally as an alternative to the MAI. It has been translated into Spanish, and is being translated into French. It was endorsed at a recent meeting of the Federation of Green Parties of the Americas, sent several times to the UN Missions in New York, and to the international media. It will be recirculated to the UN on October 24, 1998 and on the 50th Anniversary of the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights on December 10, 1998. The treaty is supported by a body of international documents and principles drawn from over 50 years of international obligations, commitments and expectations created through the UN system. The Annex contains the documents that have been reviewed for the drafting of this resolutiont and is supported by the Charter of Obligations prepared by the Global Compliance Research Project.
-- Joan Russow, Ph.D., National Leader, Green Party of Canada]
Through more than 50 years of concerted effort, the member states of the United Nations have created public trust international obligations, commitments and expectations in which they have undertaken the following:
- 1. to Promote and fully guarantee respect for human rights, labor rights and social justice;
- 2. to Enable socially equitable and environmentally sound development;
- 3. to Achieve a state of peace, justice and security;
- 4. to Create a global structure that respects the rule of law; and
- 5. to Ensure the preservation and protection of the environment.
Concerned that trade organizations such as the World Trade Organization (WTO) and Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC), and trade agreements such as the North American Free Trade Agreement (NAFTA) and the Multilateral Agreement on Investments (MAI) undermine the work of over 50 years in creating obligations, commitments and expectations with respect to the matters set out above;
...trade agreements such as NAFTA and the Multilateral Agreement on Investments undermine the work of over 50 years in creating obligations, commitments and expectations.
Dismayed by the continued global urgency resulting from the failure of member states of the United Nations to discharge their obligations from conventions, treaties and covenants, to act on commitments from conference action plans, and to fulfill expectations from General Assembly resolutions;
Recalling the commitment made by all the member states of the United Nations in the Platform of Action at the UN Conference on Women: Equality, Development and Peace (Beijing, 1995) and in the Habitat II Agenda, "to ensure that corporations including transnational corporations comply with national codes, social security laws, and international law, including international environmental law;"
We, the member states of the United Nations, undertake the following:
1. To discharge obligations, act on commitments, and fulfill expectations arising from Public Trust international agreements and thus:
- a. to sign and ratify those existing international conventions, treaties, and covenants that have not yet been signed and ratified,
- b. to enact the domestic legislation necessary to implement them and to fulfill the legitimate expectations created by General Assembly resolutions and declarations, and
- c. to act upon commitments arising from conference action plans;
2. To establish mandatory international standards and regulations (MINS) based on international principles and on the highest and strongest regulations from member states, harmonizing standards and regulations continually upwards with respect to:
To demand compensation and reparations from corporations, and from administrations that have permitted corporations to, or assisted them in, degrading the environment or violating fundamental human rights...
a. Promoting and fully guaranteeing respect for human rights, labor rights and social justice; b. Enabling socially equitable and environmentally sound employment; c. Achieving a state of peace, justice and security; d. Creating a global structure that respects the rule of law; and e. Ensuring the preservation and protection of the environment.
3. To demand compensation and reparations from corporations, and from administrations that have permitted corporations to, or assisted them in, degrading the environment or violating fundamental human rights, especially where those actions occurred: a. in developed and developing countries, or b. on the lands of indigenous peoples or in the communities of marginalized citizens in either developing or developed countries;
4. To revoke the licenses and charters of corporations, including transnational corporations, if those corporations have persistently:
- a. violated human rights or denied social justice
- b. caused environmental degradation,
- c. disregarded labor rights, or
- d. contributed to conflict and war, or if they fail to pay compensation for past non-compliance with international agreements;
5. To reduce the global military budgets by at least 50% and use the savings:
- a. to guarantee the right to:
- adequate food,
- safe and affordable shelter,
- universal health care,
- safe drinking water,
- adequate (not genetically altered or irradiated) food
- a safe environment,
- education, and
- b. to fund socially equitable and environmentally sound work; and
- c. to fund education and research free from corporate direction and control;
6. To increase funding for United Nations agencies and for international, national and regional educational institutions so that their missions will not be undermined by corporate direction or control; (All funding to the United Nations should be conditional and dedicated to the furthering of international public trust law, not vested interest economic agreements such as GATT, WTO, MAI etc. Given that the Security Council is controlled by the nuclear armed states, the Security Council should be disbanded, and rotational councils should be selected from the membership of the General Assembly.)
7. To develop criteria for partnership with the United Nations so as to ensure the exclusion of corporations from such a partnership if in any part of their operation they have violated human rights, including labor rights, caused environmental degradation, contributed to war and conflict, or failed to promote socially equitable and environmentally sound development;
8. To distinguish "civil society" from the "market," and to define civil society as those elements of society that serve to guarantee human rights, foster justice, protect and conserve the environment, prevent war and conflict, and provide for socially equitable and environmentally sound development;
To prevent the transfer to other states of substances and activities that cause environmental degradation or that are harmful to human health..
9. To prevent the transfer to other states of substances and activities that cause environmental degradation or that are harmful to human health, as agreed in the Rio Declaration; this prohibition would cover activities such as those related to:
- a. production, importation or exportation of toxic, hazardous, or atomic substances and wastes,
- b. production or consumption of ozone-depleting substances,
- c. extraction of resources by environmentally unsound methods,
- d. production or distribution of questionable genetically engineered food substances and genetically modified organisms,
- e. production or distribution of genetically engineered crop pesticide systems,
- f. contribution to increased greenhouse gas emissions;
To ensure that no state relaxes environmental, health, human rights or labor standards in order to attract industry...
10. To act upon the commitment made at recent United Nations Conferences to move away from the overconsumptive model of development, to reduce the ecological footprint, and to reject the economic dogma that maximum economic growth will resolve the urgency of the global situation;
11. To prohibit all trade zones that have the effect of circumventing obligations and commitments intended to guarantee human rights, including social justice and labor rights, or to protect, preserve and conserve the environment.
12. To work with banking and finance institutions to terminate all Structural Adjustment Programs (SAPs) which prescribe:
- a. the indiscriminate privatization of state-owned enterprises,
- b. the indiscriminate reduction of government expenditures,
- c. the indiscriminate liberalization of trade regimes,
- d. the indiscriminate opening of states to increased foreign investment, especially where this entails the attraction of foreign capital by deregulating markets and offering low wages, high interest rates, and little or no environmental protection, or
- e. the indiscriminate encouragement of producing of goods for export at the expense of traditional crops, products and services which serve the needs of domestic peoples;
13. To ensure that no state relaxes environmental, health, human rights or labor standards in order to attract industry, and that no corporation allows a branch or subsidiary to engage in:
- a. practices that are unacceptable in the controlling corporation's state of origin,
- b. activities that are banned or restricted in the controlling corporation's state of origin, or
- c. manufacturing or transferring substances that are banned or restricted in the controlling corporation's state of origin.
14. To ensure that no state shall justify trade with a country that violates human rights on the grounds that such trade will lead to a betterment of human rights.
15. To establish an International Court of Compliance where citizens can bring evidence of state and corporate non-compliance with all states' overriding obligations and commitments to:
- a. protect and advance human rights, including health rights, and labor rights and social justice,
- b. protect and conserve the environment,
- c. prevent war and conflict, and
- d. enable socially equitable and environmentally sound employment.
16. To ensure the right of citizens to sue corporate owners and officers, in criminal and civil court, for any legal violation of human rights, including labor rights, denying social justice, for destroying the environment, for causing serious harm to human health, or for contributing to devastation through arms trade.
Contacts: Joan Russow, National Leader, Green Party of Canada, Co-ordinator, Global Compliance Research Project, 1230 St. Patrick St. Victoria, B.C. V8S 4Y4 Tel/FAX (250) 598-0071, firstname.lastname@example.org; Caspar Davis (L.L.B) email@example.com