UN Human Rights Council Takes Actions On Internet Rights, Corporations 14/07/2014 by MaÃ«li Astruc for Intellectual Property Watch 4 Comments Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)At its recent session, the United Nations Human Rights Council adopted a resolution on the promotion, protection and enjoyment of human rights on the internet. It also addressed a legally binding instrument on corporations’ responsibility to ensure human rights. The 26th session of the Human Rights Council (HRC) took place in Geneva from 10 to 27 June. Under the temporary name A/HRC/26/L.24 (it will become A/HRC/RES/26/13), the first resolution affirms “that the same rights that people have offline must also be protected online, in particular freedom of expression, which is applicable regardless of frontiers and through any media of one’s choice.” The resolution also calls on all states to address security concerns on the internet with respect to their international human rights obligations, through “national democratic, transparent institutions,” and to adopt national internet-related public policies with the “objective of universal access and enjoyment of human rights at its core,” though “transparent and multi-stakeholder processes.” Perhaps more controversial was the draft resolution A/HRC/26/L.22/Rev.1 (future A/HRC/RES/26/9) establishing an open-ended intergovernmental working group on a legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises. According to sources, this resolution was adopted with a vote of 20 in favour, 14 against and 13 abstentions with a deep division between developing and developed countries.1 “While companies enjoyed protection, victims of harmful corporate activities had no legal protection, only voluntary norms,” Ecuador said in the presentation of the text. The voluntary norms refer to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, hereafter the guiding principles, endorsed by the Human Rights Council in 2011. According to sources, India said that the guiding principles “had a limited field of application and could not provide remedy for victims of human rights violations.” The resolution states that transnational corporations and other business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights. The first two sessions of the working group will be dedicated to “conducting constructive deliberations on the content, scope, nature and form of the future international instrument,” according to the text of the resolution. The chairperson-rapporteur of the working group will prepare elements for the draft legally binding instrument at the commencement of the third session. Key developed countries presented statements against the draft resolution. The United Kingdom said that the guiding principles “offered the best way forward for dealing with these important issues, taking into account the needs of citizens and ensuring that they would benefit from economic development.” The United States considered that the draft resolution “was a threat to the Guiding Principles” and “would unduly polarize the issue, taking the Council back to the days of the Human Rights Commission.” Italy, speaking on behalf of the European Union, said that “national action plans were the best way to achieve progress.” The first session of the working group will be held in 2015 for five days, before the thirtieth session of the Human Rights Council and will submit a report on progress made at its thirty-first session, the resolution states. In favour (20): Algeria, Benin, Burkina Faso, China, Congo, Côte d’Ivoire, Cuba, Ethiopia, India, Indonesia, Kazakhstan, Kenya, Morocco, Namibia, Pakistan, Philippines, Russian Federation, South Africa, Venezuela and Viet Nam. Against (14): Austria, Czech Republic, Estonia, France, Germany, Ireland, Italy, Japan, Montenegro, Republic of Korea, Romania, The former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia, United Kingdom, and United States of America. Abstentions (13): Argentina, Botswana, Brazil, Chile, Costa Rica, Gabon, Kuwait, Maldives, Mexico, Peru, Saudi Arabia, Sierra Leone, and United Arab Emirates. [^]Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to email this to a friend (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window) Related MaÃ«li Astruc may be reached at email@example.com."UN Human Rights Council Takes Actions On Internet Rights, Corporations" by Intellectual Property Watch is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike 4.0 International License.