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The African Coalition for Corporate Accountability (ACCA) congratulates the Centre for Applied Legal Studies (CALS), Alternative Information and Development Centre (AIDC) and Lawyers for Human Rights (LHR) on successfully convening the 4th Binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights Indaba in Johannesburg from the 27 - 28 July 2022, under the theme: ‘Towards a legally binding instrument’: Lessons learnt from the pandemic.’

The COVID-19 pandemic presented many lessons in the field of business and human rights. The organisers of the 4th Binding Treaty Indaba are cognisant of this and the lessons that can be derived from experiences of host communities, civil society, and trade unions inter alia, that could be incorporated into the next draft treaty. The pandemic highlighted the critical role of both States and businesses in preventing and mitigating the human rights impact of the crisis in the business context and in ensuring that the measures taken to support economic recovery are carried out with respect for human rights. As the world recovers from the firm grasp of COVID-19, the theme of the Indaba was relevant as it looks toward the 4th Revised Draft of the Legally Binding Instrument and the Intergovernmental Working Group (IGWG) Sessions in Geneva during the October/November sessions.

The Indaba presented an important space for civil society to not only meet and interrogate issues related to the treaty but also to engage other relevant stakeholders including trade unions, affected communities and governmental bodies. This allowed for more elaborate engagement on key issues around the treaty. The Indaba also provided a space for all involved to work together to ensure that the next Draft of the treaty reflects the needs of the people it is intended to protect and that the African and broader Global South perspectives are reflected in the upcoming negotiations at the United Nations.

The ACCA endorses and associates proudly with the resolutions of the Binding Treaty Indaba which calls for inter alia the use of processes such as the Indaba to bring labour, civil society organisations, and governmental organisations together. We reaffirm that the RIGHT TO SAY NO is an important right of host communities and must be retained and elaborated in the binding instrument, over and above the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent. The ACCA affirms that the Resolutions are a true reflection of the discussions of the two day Indaba.

The ACCA and its membership restate their dedication to a continuous engagement with the organisers of the Binding Treaty Indaba. We look forward to a stronger alliance with CALS (an ACCA member organisation), LHR, AIDC and other key stakeholders towards creating enduring platforms to amplify the importance of the legally binding instrument on business and human rights for communities impacted by the activities of corporations and activists who advocate for them.

Once again, congratulations to CALS, AIDC and LHR for hosting this important event.