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Time to address challenges to human rights protection in the context of business activity

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The Dutch EU Presidency has invited the Foreign Affairs Council to come forward with Conclusions on business and human rights, in particular on access to justice for human rights abuses related to business operations. ECCJ, together with Amnesty International, CIDSE, FIDH and Friends of the Earth Europe, have called on the Council to take this opportunity and tackle the significant gaps that remain at State and EU level in the protection of human rights from business-related abuses.

In a joint letter to the Members States Representatives on the Council of the EU Working Party on Human Rights (COHOM), the organisations present a series of recommendations on the most pressing challenges to effectively protect human rights in the context of business activity.

The letter reminds that the EU and its Member States have repeatedly expressed their commitment to implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) adopted in 2011. However, with a few exceptions [1], Member States have so far failed to take legislative or other meaningful action to ensure effective prevention of, and accountability and remedy for, corporate human rights abuses.

The CSOs recommendations aim at enhancing the effective implementation of the three Pillars of the UNGPs (State duty to protect human rights, corporate responsibility to respect human rights and access to remedy). They present legal measures that include the need to address the obstacles faced by victims when seeking to access remedies, to embed Human Rights Due Diligence in law (building on the legislative developments in France), to enhance the global framework by engaging in the process to develop a UN Treaty, to improve coherence between the trade and investment agenda and the business and human rights agenda, and to develop robust strategy and action plans at EU and national levels.

See attached the PDF with the full letter and the recommendations in Appendix.

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