Shadow EU Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

The RBC wg launched a Shadow EU Action Plan on Business and Human Rights on the 19 March.

This Shadow EU Action Plan is a signal to the European Commission and the Council of the European Union that time is ripe for the EU to put systematic and effective measures in place implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).

There is increasing recognition that business, while playing an important role in the social and economic development of modern societies, can equally harm society, damage the environment and violate human rights. 

The international community adopted the UNGPs in June 2011, setting up standards for governments and business with the aim to prevent, mitigate and remedy human rights abuses deriving from or linked to business activities.

The EU endorsed the UNGPs in 2011 and shortly after presented the Commission’s 2011 Communication on Corporate Social Responsibility containing a strong commitment to implement the UNGPs in the EU. Fourteen Member States have developed National Action Plans since then, triggering national processes on the establishment of safeguards for human rights against business-related abuse.

The EU in contrast has so far failed to do so.

It is urgent time for the EU, which is directly bound by its treaties to promote and protect human rights globally, to take action. The EU is the world’s largest economy, a trading hub with significant economic and political power to influence the regulation of economic operations worldwide.

The EU and its member states are also increasingly subsidizing European companies operating in developing and neighbouring countries. It therefore carries a particular responsibility to prove leadership in the promotion and protection of human rights against business-related human rights abuses. 

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