CYIL vol. 11 (2020)

CYIL 11 (2020) THE BUSINESS ENTITIES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION… entities have been declared inadmissible due to the lack of personal standing. 32 This rule was confirmed by the Human Rights Committee (CCPR) again in 2017 in the case of Basem Ahmed Issa Yassin . 33 A similar situation exists with respect to the practice of the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR). This committee accepts submissions from individuals and also may accept submissions from a group of individuals; 34 but these groups are not normally registered as legal persons, they do not generate income, and are not considered business entities for the purposes of the current research. The conclusion is that business entities may not be seen as holders of the human rights set forth in the ICCPR and the ICESCR and correspondingly from the standpoint of the IBHR, including the UDHR. Regarding the possible obligations of businesses , on the basis of these three documents or as a whole under the IBHR, one may refer to Principle 12 of the UNGPs, which reads as follows: The responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights refers to internationally recognized human rights – understood, at a minimum, as those expressed in the International Bill of Human Rights… 35 This indicates that business entities are under an obligation to conduct their activity in compliance with the rules set forth in the UDHR and the two covenants. The control of their activity is within the hands of the states through the tool of positive obligations. Valuable remarks on the subject expressed by Prof. Olivier de Frouville and Prof. Yadh Ben Achour, members of the Human Rights Committee, in their concurring opinion in the case of Basem Ahmed Issa Yassin : It must then be determined on the merits whether, in the present case, the State party has respected its obligations under the Covenant towards persons affected by extraterritorial activities of corporations and, specifically, whether it has taken the necessary positive measures, in terms of either legislative framework or remedies, to ensure rights. 36 Although these members of the CCPR did not speak directly to the human rights obligations of businesses, they insist on possible positive obligations of states to regulate the extraterritorial activities of business entities domiciled in their territory or under their jurisdiction. From this, we can derive the indirect obligations of business corporations to comply with the human rights envisaged in the ICCPR. Following the same logic, we connect these obligations to the norms of the ICESCR and the standards of the UDHR. This theory can easily be illustrated with an example of such obligations. Article 4 of the UDHR envisages that “No one shall be held in slavery or servitude…” 37 It clearly sends a message to businesses that slavery is prohibited in all its forms. Therefore, the large-scale 32 Disabled and handicapped persons in Italy v. Italy , CCPR, Decision, Communication No. 163/1984, U.N. Doc. CCPR/C/OP/2 at 47 (1990). 33 Basem Ahmed Issa Yassin et. al., CCPR, Decision adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4)of the Optional Protocol, communication No. 2285/2013 of 7 December 2017. 34 See Article 2 of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, New York, adopted 10 December 2008, entered into force 5 May 2013// Doc. A/63/435; C.N.869.2009. 35 The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights , Human Rights Council, resolution no. 17/4 of 16 June 2011. 36 Concurring opinion of Committee members Olivier de Frouville and Yadh Ben Achour in the case of Basem Ahmed Issa Yassin et. al., CCPR, Decision adopted by the Committee under article 5 (4) of the Optional Protocol, communication No. 2285/2013 of 7 December 2017. 37 Universal Declaration of Human Rights, proclaimed by the United Nations General Assembly in Paris on 10 December 1948, General Assembly resolution no. 217 A.


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