International organizations have recommended establishing criteria for the selection of the new Latin American member of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
In a letter submitted by Conectas, CELS (Center for Legal and Social Studies, Argentina) and Dejusticia (Colombia), the three organizations emphasized the need to assure the independence, impartiality and legitimacy of the Working Group and presented 4 recommendations:
Disclosure System: current and prospective members of the Working Group should prepare a document declaring any potential conflict of interest that could compromise or delegitimize their membership.
Diversity: the composition of the Working Group should not reflect only geographical location, but also diversity of profiles, worldviews, origins and mindsets, with backgrounds in governmental entities, private companies, academia and civil society organizations, and individuals recognized for their activism in advancing human rights.
Quarantine mechanism: a requirement that members, for a period of time after the end of their respective mandates – two years, for example – refrain from certain activities that could potentially raise a conflict of interest with their status as former UN mandate-holders.
Funding: the activities of the Working Group should receive funding through the establishment of a fund located between the sponsors and the Group itself.
“The public function of the Group requires that its members discharge their functions with absolute independence and impartiality,” reads an excerpt of the document. “Mandate-holders should refrain from using their office or knowledge gained from their functions for private gain, financial or otherwise, or for the gain and/or detriment of any family member, close associate, or third party.”
The appointment of the new member will occur at the 28th Session of Business and Human Rights, scheduled for August 2015.
Click here to read the letter in full.