Written by 16 h 46 min Advocacy, Press release-en, Strengthening corporate accountability litigation

Duty of care of multinationals: Attempt by the Senate rapporteur to obstruct democratic debate and bury the law.

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Paris, 13th October 2015 – In view of tomorrow Wednesday 14th October’s review of the proposed law pertaining to multinationals’ duty of care by the Senate’s Commission on Legislation, the rapporteur Christophe-André Frassa (Republicans) has filed a “dilatory motion”. Should it be passed, this motion could defer any debate on this law until a European directive on this subject (1) is adopted. Our associations express outrage at the use of a procedure that blocks democratic debate and whose objective is clearly to bury a progressive bill aimed at forestalling violations of human rights and the environment by multinational companies.


After two years of intensive pressure by different stakeholders to keep this bill from seeing the light of day, we now have the Republican rapporteur making use of an exceptional procedure for the purpose of hindering a review of this legislation by the Senate. Should it be passed, this motion would indeed prevent any discussion of its substance.

The arguments put forward in support of this motion do not rest on any solid foundation. In a vein similar to disagreements expressed during our associations’ hearing with the rapporteur, the latter invokes a purported risk with regard to French companies’ competitiveness, when there exists in fact no tangible evidence of this assumed risk. Above all, competitiveness should not be sought at the expense of human rights and the environment.

What is more, it makes no sense to postpone discussion of a French law until the introduction of a European directive. France is far from being alone in acting on this matter; similar initiatives already exist in neighbouring countries. There are negotiations currently in progress at the UN for formulating an international treaty governing multinationals with regard to human rights.

Our associations call upon the Senators to reject this dilatory motion tomorrow in the Commission on Legislation’s meeting, as well as next week at the plenary session review on 21st October. If the motion is passed, the text can then only be debated if the government places it anew on the agenda. It is of prime importance that democratic debate be allowed to take its course.

Press contacts:

  • Friends of the Earth France: Pierre Sagot 06 86 41 53 43; communication@amisdelaterre.org
  • CCFD Terre Solidaire [Catholic Committee against Hunger and for Development]: Karine Appy 06 66 12 33 02; k.appy@ccfd-terresolidaire.org
  • Collectif Ethique sur l’Etiquette [ethical fashion collective]: 06 62 53 34 56; n.ajaltouni@ethique-sur-etiquette.org
  • Sherpa – Ligia Morena Ramos: +33 (0) 1 42 21 33 25; communication@asso-sherpa.org
  • Amnesty International France: Véronique Tardivel 06 76 94 37 05


(1)     This procedure only exists in the Senate and is intended to “make a debate subject to one or more conditions regarding the legislation being discussed, and whose effect if adopted is to postpone the debate until the fulfilment of the said condition(s).” In fact this rarely used procedure would be used by the Senators as a means of burying a bill (https://www.cairn.info/revue-francaise-de-droit-constitutionnel-2001-3-page-529.htm). Passing this motion would actually prevent it from being read a second time at the Assemblée Nationale.

See article 44, par. 4 of Senate regulation: http://www.senat.fr/reglement/reglement_mono.html#toc123

(2)     This bill was passed by the Assemblée Nationale at first reading on the thirtieth of last March. A Senate review in plenary is planned for 21st October. See our press release when it was passed at the Assemblée Nationale: http://www.amisdelaterre.org/Un-premier-pas-historique-pour-le.html

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