Advocacy Documents

Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights – Article 5 Prevention

Document type:
15 October 2019


Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights

Fifth session (14-18 October 2019)

Article 5 Prevention

This statement is made on behalf of WILPF and members [1] of the #Feminists4BindingTreaty. We welcome the recognition of mandatory human rights due diligence as a central component of the measures needed to prevent human rights violations and abuses in the context of business activities. The recognition of an obligation to exercise human rights due diligence per seimplies that businesses that do not comply with this obligation shall be held accountable. Nevertheless it should also be made clear that compliance with this obligation does not automatically shield businesses from liability for human rights abuses.

The scope of human rights due diligence obligations and of associated mechanisms for liability are crucially tied to the definitions of “contractual relationships” and of “business relationships”. As mentioned in our statement on article 1, these definitions must be aligned with the definitions elaborated by Treaty Bodies, Special Procedures, and the UNGPs. Thus, they must be updated accordingly in article 5 on Prevention.

Moreover, Article 5 should be strengthened through an explicit reference to gender-responsive assessment.We stress that gender-responsive assessment must be conducted with the meaningful participation of women from all affected communities as well as relevant women’s organisations and gender experts, and must take into account, inter alia, impact of business operations on gender roles and gender-based discrimination. Multiple and/or intersecting forms of discrimination should be addressed in such assessment. In this regard, we recall that the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises set out clear guidance, presented to the Human Rights Council in June 2019, for the integration of a gender perspective in implementing the UNGPs, including with regard to gender-responsive assessments. [2]

To support human rights due diligence practices, we also recommend the inclusion of references to additional State measures to ensure the meaningful engagement of all relevant stakeholders whose human rights have been/could be affected across all stages of human rights due diligence, including through access to information as well as to measures to support independent and credible impact assessments. Further, we recommend that the terminology in article 5 (3, a) with regard to consultation with indigenous peoples, is aligned to the internationally recognised standards of free, prior and informed consent(FPIC). Thus, the reference in the draft to “free, prior and informed consultation” should be replaced with “free, prior and informed consent”.  [3]

The Instrument should identify the various situations in which stricter rules for prevention should apply. This includes armed conflict-affected areas, including situations of occupation.In that regard, we recommend to add in article 5 that States should adopt measures to ensure that: businesses conduct enhanced human rights due diligence in armed conflict-affected areas; and that business activities must either not be undertaken, must be suspended or terminated in circumstances where it might not be possible to prevent or mitigate risks of violations or abuses of human rights and/or of violations of international humanitarian law. [4] Indeed, in certain situations, the immitigability of adverse human rights impacts is such, that no due diligence exercise can ensure the effective respect of international human rights law and international humanitarian law. [5] Further, additional text should be added in article 5 to mirror Guiding Principle 7, which elaborates on State action that should be taken to deter business enterprises from engaging in conflict-affected areas, including withdrawal of economic diplomacy and financial support. [6]

The Instrument should use terminology that takes into consideration existing analysis and positions by, inter alia,UN mechanisms. In particular, the Instrument should use “armed conflict-affected areas, including situations of occupation” instead of “occupied or conflict-affected areas”. The draft text currently only mentionsconflict-affected and areas of occupation”. Several soft law and legally-binding instruments also refer to “high-risk areas” in relation to enhanced human rights due diligence by businesses, including OECD and UN Global Compact guidelines, as well as the EU conflict-minerals regulation. [7] While there is no unified legal definition of “high-risk areas,” they are often understood as situations of political instability and repression that may lead to violent conflict. High-risk areas could also cover internal disturbances and tensions (which would include riots, isolated and sporadic acts of violence), not reaching the threshold of an non-international armed conflict under international humanitarian law, as well as certain post-conflict situations where there has been a general close of military operations but there is still violence/ high risk of violence breaking out.

It is important to make clear that the legal framework governing such high-risk situations is different from that governing armed conflicts (mainly in that international humanitarian law is not applicable). At the same time, the Instrument should define “high-risk areas” and extend enhanced human rights due diligence to these situations in order to ensure a more effective and comprehensive prevention of business-related human rights abuses.

The Instrument should also clarify under article 5 Prevention the obligation of the State to respect, protect, and fulfil human rights when it itself acts as an economic actor – directly or in conjunction with State or non-State actors – in the context of business activities.

States may violate their obligation to respect or to protect in connection with activities of State-owned enterprises and when they engage in contracts or commercial activities with companies and with other States. Business-related human rights violations and abuses linked to actions by States as economic actors have been documented in a variety of sectors and countries, including in the extractive sector, [8] agribusiness, [9] in the arms industry, [10] and in the infrastructure sector. [11]

According to the UNGPs, States must take additional steps and exercise a higher standard of care to prevent and protect from abuses and violations in the State-business nexus, for instance in relation to activities of State-owned enterprises or in areas where the State is an economic actor (e.g. public-private partnerships, public procurement, privatisation of services, investment through sovereign wealth funds), and with other States (as a member of multilateral institutions that deal with business-related issues, as well as when entering into trade and investment agreements). [12] In addition, domestic laws and policies can support and shape business activities, such as through granting of authorisations for business activities and financial or trade support. States must also uphold their human obligations and ensure policy coherence with such obligations in all areas where State-based institutions come into contact with, support, or shape business activity. [13]

Finally, with regard to human rights defenders,we recommend that the text of Article 4.15, which recognises that States should take measures to respect, protect and fulfil the rights of human rights defenders, be moved under Article 5, since the work of human rights defenders is key in preventing business-related human rights abuses. In addition, we recommend the deletion of the limitation in article 4.15 “to recognize, protect and promote all the rights recognised in this (Legally Binding Instrument)” since the Instrument does not create new rights and, it should go without saying, that all rights of human rights defenders under international human rights law should be respected, protected and fulfilled.


Download the PDF version of the Statement on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with Respect to Human Rights – Article 5.


[1] ActionAid International, Anima Mundi Law Initiative, AWID (Association for Women’s Rights in Development), CaL (Coalition of African Lesbians), CAWEE (Center for Accelerated Women’s Empowerment), CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales, Argentina), DAWN (Development Alternatives with Women for a New era), Federation of Women Lawyers (FIDA Kenya), FIAN International, FIDH, Franciscans International, Gender and Development Network, Manushya Foundation, NAPE (National Association of Professional Environmentalists), NAWAD (National Association for Women’s Action in Development), PODER (Project on Organizing, Development, Education, and Research), SIHA Network – Strategic Initiative for Women in the Horn of Africa, Womankind Worldwide, WILPF – Women’s International League for Peace and Freedom

[2] Gender dimensions of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, A/HRC/41/43, 23 May 2019, available at:

[3] In line with article 10 of the UN Declaration on the rights of Indigenous Peoples, available at:; General Comment No. 24 (2017) on State obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the context of business activities, E/C.12/GC/24, 10 August 2017, para. 12, available at:

[4] Recommendations to this effect have been made by the Independent Fact-finding mission on Myanmar in its report “The economic interests of the Myanmar military”, see para.189 a) to e), A/HRC/42/CRP.3, 5 August 2019, available at:

[5] See, in particular, the Report of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Database of all enterprises involved in the activities detailed in paragraph 96 of the report of the independent international fact-finding mission to investigate the implications of the Israeli settlements on the civil, political, economic, social and cultural rights of the Palestinian people throughout the Occupied Palestinian Territory, including East Jerusalem, A/HRC/37/39, 1 February 2018, available at:

Para. 40 “The scale, scope and immitigability of the human rights impacts caused by settlements must be taken into consideration as part of businesses’ enhanced due diligence exercises.”; Para. 41“OHCHR notes that, considering the weight of the international legal consensus concerning the illegal nature of the settlements themselves, and the systemic and pervasive nature of the negative human rights impact caused by them, it is difficult to imagine a scenario in which a company could engage in listed activities in a way that is consistent with the Guiding Principles and international law. This view was reinforced in Human Rights Council resolution 34/31 on the Israeli settlements, in which the Council referred to the immitigable nature of the adverse impact of businesses’ activities on human rights.”

[6] Business and human rights in conflict-affected regions: challenges and options towards State responses,A/HRC/17/32, 27 May 2011, see paras. 17 and 18, available at:

[7] REGULATION (EU) 2017/821 OF THE EUROPEAN PARLIAMENT AND OF THE COUNCIL of 17 May 2017 laying down supply chain due diligence obligations for Union importers of tin, tantalum and tungsten, their ores, and gold originating from conflict-affected and high-risk areas, available at:; OECD (2016), OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas: Third Edition, OECD Publishing, Paris, available at:; Guidance on Responsible Business in Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas: A Resource for Companies and Investors A joint UN Global Compact – PRI publication, United Nations Global Compact, 2010, p. 10, available at:


-millions-brutal-security-services-and-ethnic-militias/; Recommendations to this effect have been made by the Independent Fact-finding Mission on Myanmar in its report “The economic interests of the Myanmar military”, see paragraph 189 a) to e), A/HRC/42/CRP.3, 5 August 2019, available at:

[9] See, e.g.


[11] See, e.g.,

[12] Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, see Principle 4, available at:; Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, A/HRC/32/45, 4 May 2016, paras. 22-34; Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, see Principles 4, 5, 6, 8, 9, 10, available at:;when they negotiate and enforce trade and investment agreements and through privatisation, see General comment No. 24 (2017) on State obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the context of business activities, E/C.12/GC/24, 10 August 2017, para. 13, 21,22 29, available at:

[13] Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, see Principle 8, available at:; The CEDAW Committee has for instance repeatedly made recommendations to States to ensure rigorous, transparent and gender-sensitive human rights impact assessments of arms transfers, in which State authorities play a central role in the authorisation processes of transfers. See: CEDAW/C/SWE/CO/8-9, paras. 27 (h) and 35; CEDAW/C/DEU/CO/7-8, para. 28; CEDAW/C/ITA/CO/7, para. 20; CEDAW/C/NLD/CO/6, para. 46 (a); CEDAW/C/CHE/CO/4-5, para. 17 (c) and CEDAW/C/FRA/CO/7-8, para. 23

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بناء وتعزيز طريقة عملنا مع بعضنا البعض

لاتخاذ الأفعال وإحداث تأثير في العالم ، نحتاج أيضاً إلى النظر في كيفية عملنا معاً. خلال المكالمات الإقليمية والعالمية المنتظمة خلال عامي ٢٠٢١ و ٢٠٢٢ ، تستكشف العضوات الفجوات التي يجب سدها ، والسياسات التي نحتاج إلى تغييرها ، والسياسات التي نحتاج إلى وضعها ، وأساليب العمل التي نحتاج إلى ضبطها ، والمزيد. نسعى إلى إيجاد الحلول معاً ، حتى نتمكن من تحقيق رؤيتنا الجماعية لمستقبل WILPF.

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إن دور المجلس الدولي الحالي هو إنشاء لجنة الترشيح، بينما يتم تنسيق عملية الانتخابات من قبل لجنة الانتخابات التي سيتم تشكيلها في بداية كونغرس.

الدعوة الآن مفتوحة للعضوات الراغبات بالعمل في المجلس الدولي! لدى الأقسام الوطنية متسع من الوقت حتى ١٩ مارس لتقديم الترشيحات للمناصب المنتخبة: الرئيسة ونائبيتين للرئيسة وأمينة الخزانة. كما ويمكن للأقسام الآن الاجتماع في منطقتهم لتسمية ممثلة إقليمية واحدة وممثلة إقليمية بديلة. للمزيد من المعلومات ، يمكن الاتصال بالممثلة الإقليمية الخاص بكن أو أرسال بريداً إلكترونياً إلى


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سيعقد المؤتمر الدولي القادم لـ WILPF عبر الإنترنت في الفترة

من ١٦ إلى ٢٤ يوليو ٢٠٢٢ (ويرجع ذلك إلى حالة عدم اليقين التي أحدثتها جائحة COVID-19). سيفتح هذا المسار للتسجيل ولمقترحات الأنشطة في مارس ٢٠٢٢.

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سيُفتَح قريباً

المشاركة في إنشاء البرنامج الدولي التالي​

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ابتداءً يوليو ٢٠٢١ ، تمت دعوة العضوات لإجراء مكالمات عالمية منتظمة للمشاركة في المناقشات التي تهدف إلى تطوير الرؤية والقيم والإجراءات لمستقبل WILPF.

في حال رغبة أي منكن في استضافة مناقشة،  الرجاء التواصل معنا من خلال:

مشاركة الآراء

سؤال الساعة: ما هو السلام النسوي؟

Desarrolla y fortalece las maneras de trabajar en conjunto en WILPF

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Coordinado por la Junta Internacional y los Comités Permanentes, pero implementado por todo WILPF.

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sirvan como representantes

Cada Congreso Internacional incluye la elección de los miembros de la Junta Internacional. La Junta Internacional es responsable del liderazgo general de WILPF, de establecer los objetivos estratégicos y tácticos de la organización en su conjunto y de garantizar que WILPF se mantenga fiel a sus objetivos, valores y principios.

Es función de la presente Junta Internacional establecer un Comité de Nominación, mientras que el proceso de elección es coordinado por un Comité de Elecciones que se constituirá al comienzo del Congreso.

¡Ya salió la convocatoria para que los miembros sirvan en la Junta Internacional! Las Secciones Nacionales tienen tiempo hasta el 19 de marzo para presentar nominaciones para los cargos electos de presidenta, dos vicepresidentas y tesorera y reunirse en su región para nominar una representante regional y una suplente. Para obtener más información, comunícate con tu representante regional o envía un correo electrónico a

Organiza y asiste el Congreso de 2022

El próximo Congreso Internacional tendrá lugar en línea de 16 al 24 julio del 2022 (a causa de las incertidumbres producidas por la pandemia). Esta vía se abrirá para inscripciones y propuestas de actividades en marzo del 2022.

Envía un correo electrónico a para obtener más información.

Coordinado por la Junta Internacional y el Comité Directivo del Congreso.
de poco

Ayuda a crear el próximo Programa Internacional

Expresate! El próximo Programa Internacional de WILPF se está desarrollando a través de un proceso de colaborativo, lo que significa que toda nuestra comunidad mundial está invitada a participar en discusiones regionales, nacionales y globales sobre cómo debería ser nuestra dirección estratégica. Involúcrate hoy para compartir tus pensamientos sobre el trabajo, la visión, los valores y las acciones de WILPF. Comienza explorando esta página, consulta el paquete de participación o únete a una de las próximas discusiones. También puedes escribirle a tu representante regional para obtener más información sobre cómo puedes participar a nivel nacional y regional.

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Contribuye como traductora o intérprete

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Únete a una discusión

Desde julio del 2021, los miembros de WILPF han sido invitados a llamadas globales periódicas para participar en debates destinados a desarrollar la visión, los valores y las acciones para el futuro de WILPF. ¿Quieres organizar una discusión? Ponte en contacto con

Comparte tus ideas

Pregunta del momento: ¿que es la paz feminista?

Développer et renforcer la manière dont on travaille ensemble

‘Future WILPF’ est bien plus que le Programme International. Il s'agit de renforcer notre mouvement, d'équiper notre communauté mondiale afin qu’elle puisse au mieux agir pour le changement, et s’engager ensemble pour une vision collective d’une paix féministe. Au cours des appels nationaux, régionaux et mondiaux qui auront lieu dans la période précédant le Congrès, nous discuterons des lacunes que nous souhaitons combler, des politiques que nous devons changer ou créer. Nous réfléchirons aussi à comment ajuster au mieux nos manières de faire et processus de travail, et plus encore. Ensemble, nous chercherons des solutions, afin de réaliser notre vision collective pour l’avenir de WILPF.

Coordonné par le Groupe de coordination du développement organisationnel, mais mis en œuvre par l'ensemble de WILPF!

Désigner des représentantes de WILPF

Chaque Congrès International comprend l'élection du Conseil International. Le Conseil International est responsable de la direction générale de WILPF ; de la définition des objectifs stratégiques et tactiques de l'organisation dans son ensemble ; et de la garantie que WILPF reste fidèle à ses objectifs, ses valeurs et ses principes.

C'est le rôle du Conseil International actuel d'établir un Comité de Nomination, tandis que le processus d'élection est coordonné par un Comité d'Election qui sera constitué au début du Congrès.

L'appel aux membres pour siéger au Conseil international est démarré ! Les Sections Nationales ont jusqu'au 19 mars pour soumettre des candidatures aux postes élus de présidente, de deux vice-présidentes et de trésorière et pour se réunir dans leur région afin de nommer une représentante régionale et un représentante régionale suppléant.

Pour plus d'informations, contacte ta représentant régional ou envoie un e-mail à

Organiser le Congrès et y participer

Le prochain Congrès International de WILPF aura lieu en ligne du 16 au 24 juillet 2022 (cela est dû aux incertitudes provoquées par la pandémie de COVID-19). Cette voie ouvrira aux inscriptions et aux propositions d'activités en mars 2022.

Pour plus d'informations, écris à

Coordonné par le Conseil International et le Comité Directeur du Congrès.

Participer à l'élaboration du prochain Programme International

Fais entendre ta voix ! Le prochain Programme International de WILPF est développé à travers un processus de création collaboratif - ce qui signifie que toute notre communauté mondiale est invitée à participer à des discussions régionales, nationales et mondiales sur ce à quoi notre direction stratégique devrait ressembler. Implique-toi aujourd'hui pour partager tes réflexions sur le travail, la vision, les valeurs et les actions de WILPF.

Commence par explorer cette page, consulte le pack de participation ou rejoigne l'une des nombreuses discussions à venir. Vous pouvez également lui écrire à ta représentante régionale pour en savoir plus sur la façon dont tu peux participer au niveau national et régional.

Supervisé/géré par le Conseil International.

Porte-toi volontaire pour être traductrice ou interprète

Parle-toi plusieurs langues ? Si c’est le cas, nous avons besoin de toi ! Alors que nous nous dirigeons vers notre Congrès International, nous aurons besoin d’aide pour la traduction de documents internes et de petits morceaux de texte. Nous aurons également besoin d’aide pour l’interprétation lors des ateliers du Congrès et des sessions de connexion. Nous recherchons principalement des personnes capables de parler et d’écrire dans au moins deux des langues suivantes : anglais, français, espagnol, japonais et arabe. Si tu es intéressé(e) à fournir tes compétences, veuille contacter .

Rejoins ou anime une discussion

À partir de juillet 2021, les membres de WILPF ont été invités à des appels mondiaux réguliers pour participer à des discussions visant à développer la vision, les valeurs et les actions pour l’avenir de WILPF. Tu souhaites animer une discussion ? Contacte .

Partage tes idées

Question du moment : qu’est-ce que la paix féministe ?

Build and strengthen the way WILPF works together

To take action and make an impact in the world, we also need to look at how we function together. During the regular regional and Global Calls throughout 2021 and 2022, WILPFers are exploring gaps that need to be filled, policies we need to change, policies we need to make, work methods we need to finetune, and more. We seek solutions together, so we can fulfill our collective vision for a Future WILPF.

Coordinated by the International Board and Standing Committees, but implemented by all of WILPF!

Nominate WILPFers to serve as representatives

Each International Congress includes the election of WILPFers to join the International Board. The board is responsible for the overall leadership of WILPF, for setting the strategic and tactical objectives of the organisation as a whole, and for ensuring that WILPF stays true to its aims, values, and principles.

It is the role of the present International Board to establish a Nomination Committee, while the election process is coordinated by an Election Committee that will be constituted at the beginning of Congress.

The call for members to serve on the International Board is now out! National Sections have time until 19 March to submit nominations for the elected positions of President, two Vice-Presidents, and the Treasurer and to meet in their region to nominate one Regional Representative and one alternative Regional Representative. For more information, contact your Regional Representative or send an email to

Organise and attend Congress 2022

WILPF’s next International Congress will take place from 16-24 July 2022 (this is due to the uncertainties brought on by the COVID-19 pandemic). This track will open for registration and activity proposals in March 2022.

For more information, email

Coordinated by the International Board and the Congress Steering Committee.
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Co-create the next International Programme

Have your voice heard! WILPF’s next International Programme is being developed through a process of co-creation – meaning our entire worldwide community is invited to participate in regional, national, and global discussions about what our strategic direction should look like. Get involved today to share your thoughts on WILPF’s work, vision, values, and actions.

Start by exploring this page, checking out the Participation Pack, or joining one of the many upcoming discussions. You can also write to your Regional Representative to learn more about how you can participate on a national and regional level.

Overseen by the International Board.

Volunteer as a translator or interpreter

Do you speak multiple languages? If so, we need you! As we move towards our International Congress, we will need help with translations of internal documents and small pieces of text. We will also need help with interpretation during Congress workshops and ‘connect sessions’. We are primarily looking for individuals able to speak and write in two or more of the following languages: English, French, Spanish, Japanese and Arabic. If you are interested in providing your skills, please contact

Join or host a consultation

From July 2021 onwards, WILPF members have been invited to regular global calls to participate in discussions aimed at developing the vision, values, and actions for WILPF’s future. Want to host a discussion? Contact

Share your thoughts and ideas

Question of the moment: What is feminist peace?