Globalisation & Human Rights

The world’s inequalities are constantly growing : millions of people continue to suffer from forced evictions, inadequate access to education and basic health treatment and appalling working conditions. Economic actors, especially multinational corporations, have acquired increased power in the past decades. Liberalisation of trade and investment flows, protection granted to foreign investors, the high degree of dependency between the world’s economies but also foreign debt and policies of international financial institutions have restrained the ability of States to uphold their human rights obligations. Human rights defenders and those participating in protests denouncing corporate abuse are being increasingly targeted. Communities struggle to obtain justice for violations of economic, social and cultural rights , even more so when involving multinational companies that operate across national borders.

FIDH advocates for the full recognition and justiciability of economic, social and cultural rights, and campaigns for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. Together with its member organisations, FIDH works with communities throughout the world to ensure corporate accountability and improve victims’ access to justice through documentation, advocacy and litigation. FIDH calls on States to take their human rights obligations into account when they negotiate trade and investment agreements with third countries and promotes respect for human rights and the environment in investment.

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  • Economic, Social and Cultural Rights

    FIDH advocates for the full recognition, effective realisation and justiciability of economic, social and cultural (ESC) rights. Together with its member organisations, FIDH documents violations of ESC rights, from forced evictions to labour rights violations in global supply chains or shipbreaking yards.

    FIDH supports victims by using international and regional complaint and adjudication mechanisms such as the European Committee of Social
    Rights. With the OP-ICESCR coalition, FIDH campaigns for the ratification of the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), which enables victims to access a remedy mechanism at the UN level.

  • Business and Human Rights

    Private actors, in particular transnational corporations, have widely benefited from globalisation and have accumulated tremendous power. However, this power has not been matched with corresponding obligations. Businesses continue to cause or contribute to human rights and environmental abuses through their activities, both at home and across borders. Communities affected by corporate activities struggle to obtain justice and reparation.

    FIDH calls on States and economic actors to ensure the export of goods or services, investments and development projects – such as large-scale mining, infrastructure projects or the sale of surveillance technologies – do not lead to human rights abuses and truly benefit local populations. FIDH documents cases of corporate-related human rights violations, including through the use of a community-based human rights impact assessment methodology.

    FIDH turns to judicial and non-judicial remedy mechanisms to ensure accountability and access to justice for affected communities. FIDH advocates for stronger legal frameworks to prevent, sanction and remedy abuses caused by the activities of business enterprises, including at the UN level (see Treaty Initiative Project).

    Since 2000, FIDH has a cooperation agreement with global retail group Carrefour (hyperlink to page about partnership, under construction) with a view to improving working conditions and respect for human rights in its global supply chain. FIDH sits on the Advisory Board of the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP).

    FIDH is a member of ESCR-Net, OECD Watch, CAUSE, the ETO Consortium and the NGO Shipbreaking Platform. At the European level, FIDH is a steering group member of ECCJ.

  • Trade and Investment Agreements

    FIDH advocates for the respect of human rights obligations in trade and investment agreements. It strives for human-rights impact assessments (HRIAs) to be conducted before and after such agreements are signed. FIDH advocates for balancing investors’ rights with investors’ obligations and stands firmly against Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS). FIDH calls for complaint mechanisms which can guarantee the protection, respect and promotion of human rights. FIDH insists on the need to integrate a human rights-based approach in development policies and within international financial institutions, and promotes respect for human rights and the environment in investment. including through its ethical investment fund Libsol.