Ensuring Policy Coherence
As far as Non-judicial remedies are concerned, an important role is played by the specific instances offered by the Italian National Contact Point. As requested by the OECD Guidelines, the OECD NCP manages the “specific instances” through a non-judicial mechanism where the NCP offers good offices when a stakeholder considers that a multinational enterprise has adopted behaviour not compliant with the principles and recommendation set out in the Guidelines.
Italy also supports respect for human rights within the UNEP rights-based approach to environmental protection and sustainable development. Italy has implemented Principle 10 of Rio 1992 ratifying the Aarhus Convention on Access to Information, Public Participation in Decision-Making and Access to Justice in Environmental Matters.
An Italian non-judicial grievance mechanism is the Bank and Financial Arbitrator (ABF) created in 2009 and active since 2010 through its Panels in Milan, Rome and Naples (panels are likely to be established soon in other major towns). In the course of its mandate the ABF has extended the concept of ‘customers’ to cover individuals affected by the action of an intermediary even if the parties were not bound by contract. ABF expanded its functions to deal also with pre-contractual obligations in order to protect individuals claiming that intermediaries violated the obligations of good faith – which bind the parties to adopt fair behaviour while negotiating.
- The inclusion of business-related human rights abuses in a special section among the competence of the National Human Rights Independent Institution to be established;
- Improve the visibility and the knowledge of interested parties about the existence of the NCP’s “specific instances” procedures;
- Assess, in line with the G7 “Action for Fair Production” commitments, the performance of the Italian NCP and lead by example, by carrying out an OECD Peer Review of the NCP and hosting peer learning activities;
- Continue ensuring effective implementation of the Aarhus Convention;
- The launch, also through the diplomatic and consular network and with the involvement of Italian Chambers of Commerce abroad, of an awareness raising campaign on non-judicial grievance mechanisms;
- Liaise and support the many Ombudsmen active at national and local level to raise their awareness to protect individuals against human rights abuses by business;
- The extension of the original mandate of the Financial Bank Arbitrator to include human rights-related claims of financial nature (such as mortgage and lending discrimination).
Guiding Principle 31
… Italy yet acknowledges the need of developing appropriate non-state based grievance mechanisms and to this purpose the Government will encourage civil society organizations, trade unions and business associations to set up and activate grievance mechanisms (such as online network and tools, corporate mechanisms, or multi-stakeholders instruments) to enable the formulation, reception, and evaluation of claims for alleged human rights abuses and the proposals of adequate remedies.