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France

I- The State’s Obligation to Protect Human Rights

The National Framework

10. The Reinforcement of Legislation [page 23]

… France also played a key role in developing transparency obligations for companies at the European level. It was the main supporter of the draft directive on non-financial reporting obligations, published on 22 October 2014, which requires large European listed companies to publish reports on their social, environmental, human rights and corruption policies. France encouraged the European Commission to take an ambitious approach when adopting the guidelines discussed in the directive. The directive is currently in the final stages of being transposed into French law. This will reinforce existing non-financial reporting requirements for companies …

11. The Inter-Ministerial Exemplary Administration Action Plan and the National Action Plan for Sustainable Public Procurement

Public Procurement Policy [page 25]

The new legal framework for public procurement gives purchasers several ways of addressing social and environmental impacts. Having transposed Article 57 of Directive 2014/24/EU of 26 February 2014 on public procurement, French law now states that public contracts may not be awarded to economic operators that have been found guilty of fraud, corruption or the trafficking or exploitation of human beings (Article 45 of Ordinance 2015-899).

The Extractive Sector [page 34]

… France helps monitor and finance the implementation of the OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Supply Chains of Minerals from Conflict-Affected and High-Risk Areas. This document is an international reference in the field of good practices for businesses seeking to identify and manage non-financial risks in their mineral supply chains (… corruption, etc.).

 

II- Businesses’ Responsibility to Respect Human Rights

3. Risk Analysis and Impact Assessment

Existing Tools and Responsible Practices – At the European level [page 42]

  • The Business Anti-Corruption Portal for recruitment agencies, oil and gas industries and ICT.

5. Employee Representatives [pg. 43]

… A number of different laws contain provisions on whistleblowers: Article L 1161-1 of the Labour Code applies to corruption;

 

III – Access to Remedy

1. Judicial Mechanisms – At the National Level

1.4 Proceedings

The Jurisdiction of French Courts to Hear Criminal Matters [page 49]

Generally speaking, unless otherwise stipulated in legislation, companies and legal entities are liable for the criminal offences they commit, provided that these offences can be attributed to one of the company’s “organs” or representatives, and the offences were committed on their behalf.

More specifically, French legislation is strict in combating human rights violations by legal entities. Under French law, it is a criminal offence for companies to engage in activities that breach … equality laws (… corruption) …

1.6 Whistleblower Rights [page 53]

The Act 2016-1691 of 9 December 2016 on transparency, fighting corruption and modernizing the economy replaced earlier sector-specific provisions on whistleblowers. Under the new Act, a single framework was created to protect whistleblowers who now share a common status regardless of the field concerned.

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