NGOs and experts call on EU to ensure new directive addresses risks in conflict-affected areas
August 30th, 2022

Many EU-based businesses operate in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. They source raw materials and import products from for example Ukraine and Myanmar, have business operations in areas under military occupation, including the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or supply weapons to regimes accused of committing war crimes.

In conflict-affected areas, businesses face a high risk of becoming involved in severe human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law.

The new proposal for an EU directive on mandatory due diligence for companies doesn’t currently pay attention to the risks at play in conflict-affected and high-risk areas.

Today we join organisations and academic professionals active in the field of business, conflict and human rights to call for change. The EU needs to ensure greater alignment of its policies with the UN Guiding Principles, which require states and companies to conduct heightened, conflict-sensitive due diligence when active in these areas.

In our open letter, we call upon EU policy makers to include specific provisions on conflict in the due diligence directive.

By doing so, the EU can ensure the most vulnerable to human rights violations are not forgotten. The directive should help businesses avoid causing or exacerbating conflict and negative human rights impacts in conflict-affected areas and make a critical contribution to the protection and promotion of international peace, security and human rights.