5. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

5.8 Pillar 3: access to remedy

5.8.1 Fundamental principle

Guiding Principle 1: general duty to protect [page 12-13]

The Federal Council acknowledges its duty to grant access to remedy to those affected by human rights abuses committed on Swiss territory and/or under Swiss jurisdiction. It believes the principal means of doing this is via the well-functioning Swiss judicial system, along with alternative, non-judicial dispute-resolution mechanisms. The Federal Council also acknowledges its responsibility to facilitate access to Swiss grievance mechanisms where business enterprises based in Switzerland are involved in human rights abuses abroad, and those affected in the host country have no appropriate access to effective remedy. A smart mix of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms will be considered.

5.8.3 Operational principles: state non-judicial grievance mechanisms

Guiding Principle 27 [page 39]

State non-judicial grievance frameworks can be an important factor in gaining remedy for human rights abuses. They enable the parties to identify solutions through dialogue, without what are often lengthy and costly court proceedings.

The federal government will employ the following policy instruments (PI) to implement Guiding Principle 27:

PI48 National Contact Point for the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises (NCP)

The states signatory to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are obliged to set up a non-judicial grievance mechanism in the form of an NCP. Submissions may be made to the NCP where multinational enterprises based in one of the signatory states are accused of failing to comply with the OECD Guidelines, which since their 2011 update also include a chapter on human rights.

The Swiss NCP forms part of SECO, but involves the relevant federal agencies in handling submissions, and receives advice on its strategic orientation and the application of the OECD Guidelines from the multi-stakeholder NCP Advisory Board.

The Federal Council regards the current practice of the Swiss NCP as appropriate and will continue to Operate it in its current form.

PI49 Dispute resolution support from representations abroad

In recent years, certain representations abroad have helped companies and persons affected by human rights abuses to resolve their conflicts at the negotiating table. They have done so on an ad-hoc basis, but the federal government plans during the current reporting period to examine the possibility of Swiss representations abroad providing greater and more systematic support in resolving disputes.”

5.8.4 Operational principles: non-state grievance mechanisms

Guiding Principle 31 [page 41]:

The Federal Council supports the effectiveness criteria described in Guiding Principle 31, and will endeavour to pursue all of its action to promote non-judicial and non-governmental grievance mechanisms in accordance with them. It is not planning any separate activities.