CYIL vol. 11 (2020)

CYIL 11 (2020) THE BUSINESS ENTITIES FROM THE PERSPECTIVE OF THE EUROPEAN CONVENTION… of Human Rights. 63 This international body would make the UDHR provisions enforceable and probably would be able to rule on the rights and duties of business entities under this instrument. Even so, given the absence of progress for the last seventy years, it is unclear when the new court may appear in reality. In the case of the UDHR, one may consider its expansion, the ECHR’ mechanism is currently under the crisis. For different reasons, in previous years, Russia and Turkey refused to contribute to the CoE budget, which also impacted the work of the ECtHR. 64 Moreover, there are rumours that the United Kingdom will leave the CoE as the next step after Brexit. 65 All this makes the position of business entities under this international treaty very uncertain. On the other hand, we have a functioning mechanism that may continue to exist for the next several decades currently. 7. With respect to the exact position of businesses at the European level, the CoE CDDH has elaborated on this in the Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)3 on Human Rights and Business, which was adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 2 March 2016. A working group on the subject matter was established, and later a High-Level Seminar on Business and Human Rights took place in Strasbourg in June 2017. To date, there has not been a binding treaty regarding the issue of business and human rights at the CoE level proposed. On the contrary, the UN working group on business and human rights is very active. Since 2011, when it was established by the Human Rights Council, the UN Forum on business and human rights has taken place in Geneva annually. 66 On 16 July 2018 the Ecuador Permanent Mission to the United Nations proposed to the attention of the states and civil society the ‘Zero draft’ of the international treaty titled Legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises . 67 The draft treaty is not only a controversial document, but also is the subject of wide ranging discussions. 68 It would require a separate paper to illustrate the subject-matter. All of the aforementioned has validated the fact that the ECHR was created with the purpose of strengthening UDHR standards at the European level. Nonetheless, the two documents have many distinct features. This is particularly visible with respect to the business entities’ standing and their rights and duties under these two human rights documents. 63 See e.g. CHARLESWORTH, Hilary. Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948). In Max Planck Encyclopedia of Public International Law [MPEPIL]. Online [visited on 5 March 2019] and Towards a World Court Of Human Rights: Questions and Answers, December 2011. URL: [visited on 5 March 2019]. 64 Press Conference of the President of the European Court of Human Rights of 24 January 2019. URL: [visited on 12 March 2019]. 65 MOXHAM, Lucy, GARNER,Oliver. Long read | Will the UK uphold its commitment to human rights? June 30th, 2020. URL: rights/ [visited on 23 August 2020]. 66 About the UN Forum on business and human rights. URL: [visited on 17 May 2020]. The author of this paper had an honour to be present in this forum in 2017. 67 The draft is available from [visited on 17 May 2020]. 68 Reflections on the Zero Draft. URL: [visited on 17 May 2020].


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