A national human rights institution (NHRI) is an autonomous body established by the State, with a constitutional or legislative mandate to promote and protect human rights. NHRIs are intended to bridge the ‘protection gap’ between the rights of individuals and the duties and responsibilities of the State. The Vienna Declaration and Programme of Action (1993) recommended the establishment of NHRIs on the basis of the UN Principles Relating to the Status and Functioning of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (1991) (The Paris Principles). According to The Paris Principles, NHRIs should:
- have a broad mandate based on universal human rights standards; be autonomous and independent from government;
- have a pluralistic structure and operate in a pluralistic manner; have adequate resources; and
- have adequate powers of investigation.
NHRIs are brought together under the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), previously known as the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC). Under this Global Alliance a thematic GANHRI Working Group on Business and Human Rights (GANHRI Working Group) was established in 2009. The purpose of the GANHRI Working Group is to promote capacity building, strategic collaboration, advocacy and outreach by NHRIs in the area of business and human rights. The 10th Biennial GANHRI Conference in 2010 focused specifically on NHRIs, business and human rights, and resulted in the adoption of the Edinburgh Declaration. This considers ways that NHRIs can engage with business and human rights issues, including by promoting:
- greater protection against business-related human rights abuses;
- greater business accountability and respect for human rights;
- access to justice; and
- the establishment of multi-stakeholder approaches.
The UN Guiding Principles recognise the important role of NHRIs under each of its three pillars – protect, respect and remedy, with regard to business and human rights. For example, Commentary to Guiding Principles 3 states that: “National human rights institutions that comply with the Paris Principles have an important role to play in helping States identify whether relevant laws are aligned with their human rights obligations and are being effectively enforced, and in providing guidance on human rights also to business enterprises and other non-State actors.”
The UN Human Rights Council, UN Working Group on Business, the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights as well as regional bodies such as the Council of Europe have also noted the important role played by NHRIs in monitoring States’ obligations with regard to business and human rights. NHRIs have been urged to continue and enhance the dissemination and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles though means such as capacity-building of relevant national actors, promoting multi-stakeholder dialogue and initiatives at the national level, and identifying any gaps or challenges towards implementation. (UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights). Many NHRIs worldwide are playing a critical role in the development of National Actions plans on business and human righs, for example in Germany, Kenya, Scotland etc. NHRIs, such as the Northern Ireland Human Rights Commission are also engaged in public procurement.
Another important function carried out by NHRIs in the context of business and human rights is the provision of non-judicial grievance mechanisms. The UN Human Rights Council adopted a resolution in 2016 calling for improved accountability and access to remedy in the context of business and human rights abuse, while recognising the important role of NHRIs in achieving this objective. Some NHRIs such as the National Human Rights Commission of Indonesia (Komnas HAM), Commission on Human Rights of the Philippines, the South African Human Rights Commission or the Office of the Public Defender in Peru (Defensoría del Pueblo) have all interpreted that their mandates empower them to investigate business-related human rights abuse allegations. In carrying out this function, NHRIs may assume the role of an impartial mediator to facilitate dialogue between the parties. With respect to remediation, some NHRIs, such as the National Human Rights Commission in Nigeria, have the power to make legally binding resolutions at the conclusion of a dispute. Alternatively, NHRIs may file recommendations to governments and/or state bodies to address human rights violations and monitor to prevent any future instances.
NHRIs seek to protect and promote all human rights and address violations irrespective of the perpetrator. To be able to do so, their mandate needs to be sufficiently broad to enable them to respond effectively to new challenges and ensure the meaningful protection and promotion of human rights. For a more comprehensive overview of good practices see [Role of the NHRIs in UNGP implementation; Annex to the study on the Role of the NHRIs in UN Guiding Principles implementation].
NHRIs may also work with, or provide guidance on human rights for businesses. Examples of NHRIs working with business include the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC)’sGuide for managers and boards. The Australian Human Rights Commission (AHRC) has created tools and an on-line hub for businesses, as has the New Zealand Human Rights Commission (NZHRC) as well as the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR).
National Human Rights Institutions/Ombudspersons relates to the following Sustainable Development Goal
What National Action Plans say on National Human Rights Institutions/ Ombudspersons
The Action Plan does not give any concrete actions relating to NHRIs. In the introduction, the NAP states that:
“It should be noted that Belgium does not yet have a national human rights mechanism (in casu, a national institute for human rights) based on the Paris Principles. In accordance with our international commitments, and the federal government agreement of 9 October 2014, the competent authorities will continue to work towards the development of such a national human rights mechanism by the end of the government legislature.”
Actions of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (page 26)
Regarding the situation in Chile, there are national, international and global mechanisms that execute, supervise and evaluate the country’s compliance with human rights. Some of these documents provide recommendations in the field of human rights and business at a local level. Such is the case of reports concerning the United Nations mechanisms to protect human rights; reports prepared by the INDH about monitoring missions; annual reports prepared by the INDH; a map showing environmental conflicts prepared by the INDH. Other documents containing related matters at a local level are the Baseline of Business and Human Rights; the Country Guide of Business and Human Rights and the reports of dialogues held in the context of the Action Plan.
Pillar 1: The State Duty to Protect Human Rights
Strand 1: Training in the Field of Business and Human Rights
Action Point 1.7 (page 33)
The National Human Rights Institute will:
- Train staff working in regions about business, human rights and sustainable development, in line with the 2030 Agenda.
- Update the booklet of emerging issues and the business and human rights card.
- Introduce the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the recommendations they submit to the State about cases documented by this institution.
These recommendations, and those coming from the international human rights system will be considered in training sessions given to public officers about companies and human rights.
Strand 2: Dialogue
Action Point 2.2 (page 34)
The National Institute for Human Rights will coordinate dialogues about business and human rights at a regional level through local workshops disseminating the Action Plan, addressing important business and human rights issues at a local level, and collecting recommendations to be applied locally.
Strand 5: Public Procurement
Action Point 5.3 (page 43)
The INDH will adopt a human rights and environmental policy for the purchase of goods and services.
Pillar 3: Access to Redress Mechanisms
Strand 2: State-Based Non-Judicial Mechanisms
Action 2.1 (pages 59-60)
The National Contact Point for OECD Guidelines (NCP) of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs will adopt a series of measures to strengthen its duties. For this, it will:
- o Renew and strengthen the Mirror Committee, a body composed by representatives from the business community, unions, NGOs, and academia -with the support of the INDH. The Committee’s main role is advising the NCP and supporting his/her work, including the dissemination and treatment of the cases he/she receives. This role will be strengthened by renewing the Committee to enhance the promotion of a Responsible Corporate Behaviour among national stakeholders
- Action point 1.1 (p. 10): the Ombudsman’s Office is a member of the Working Group on Human Rights and Business.
- Action point 1.3 (p. 10-11):
“Upon the Plan being launched, the Expert Committee will be created, which will be formed as follows:
a. One representative elected by the national native organizations.
b. One representative elected by the national afro-descendent organizations.
c. One representative elected by the National Confederation of NGOs.
d. One representative elected by the confederations of workers’ unions.
e. One representative elected by the Colombian Association of Universities.
f. Two representatives elected by the National Trade Council, one of whom must be a delegate of the enterprises and the other one a delegate of the trades.
g. One representative elected by the Ombudsman’s Office.
h. One representative of the current multi-actor initiatives on the business and human rights in the country.
i. One representative of the multi-lateral entities developing business and human rights related activities.
j. One representative appointed by the International Community.
This Expert Committee will operate as an advisory entity for the Working Group and will guide the actions on the implementation of this Plan.”
- Action point 10.1 (p. 23):
“The Council to the President for Human Rights will encourage the Ombudsman’s Office to lead the implementation of the access to remedy policies covered by this Action Plan, and to develop a specific training effort for its officers at the territorial and local levels.”
- Action point 10.3 (p. 23):
“Upon the Plan’s launching, the entities part of the Working Group, supported by the Ombudsman’s Office will provide advice on access to the current judicial and non-judicial remediation mechanisms in the country, through its communication channels with citizens. Once completed the mechanism map, the collected information therein is to guide the assistance provided to citizens.”
- Action point 11.5 (p. 24):
“The Working Group and the Council to the President for Human Rights, supported by the Ombudsman’s Office, will encourage and provide access to mediators and facilitators for the resolution of conflicts as may arise between communities and enterprises, notwithstanding that there may be other pending administrative or judicial processes.”
Publication and dissemination of existing documents, education and awareness-raising [page 10]
“Current state of play:
- Every year, the Government publishes a Report on the State of Human Rights and numerous other reports and documents analysing respect for human rights in the Czech Republic. Reports in the same vein are also published by other institutions, including the Ombudsman.”
Pillar III [page 41]
“The third pillar also includes quasi-judicial tribunals, dispute resolution authorities, informal ombudsman-type institutions and mediation institutions (such as the National Contact Point, a Government-devised [See Government Resolution No 779 of 16 October 2013] neutral platform to hear complaints about infringements of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises).”
4. Access to remedy
4.3 Actions taken
Access to non-judicial remedy [page 21]
“Other examples of non-judicial institutions which contribute to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses, include Employment Tribunals, national Ombudsman, and Consumer tribunal.”
Appendix 1, GP 7
Initiatives taken or planned as a dedicated measure to implement the UNGPs (after the UN ratification of the Guiding Principles) [page 30]
“The Danish Institute of Human Rights will launch a Business Guide to Human Rights in December 2013. The Guide to Human Rights is a free website for companies to identify, assess and address their human rights impacts around the world. It provides country- and sector-specific information about the human rights impacts of businesses, alongside concrete recommendations for preventing and mitigating adverse impacts, as well as maximising positive ones. The Guide to Human Rights emphasises multi-stakeholder engagement and dialogue, and seeks to build the capacity of local Portal partners on human rights and business.”
The Finnish NAP makes no substantive reference to National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) or Ombudspersons. (Finland has both an NHRI and Ombuds offices)
Methodology [page 4]
Given the importance the French Government places on [human rights], it formally requested an opinion from the National Consultative Commission on Human Rights (CNCDH) on 21 February 2013 in order to prepare its action plan for the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles.
This opinion, adopted at a plenary assembly of the CNCDH on 24 October 2013, included a wide range of recommendations for implementing the guiding principles at a high level. The CNCDH also suggested actions for pillars 1 (the State’s obligation to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including businesses) and 3 (victims’ right to effective remedy). These recommendations can be viewed at the following address: http://www.cncdh.fr/fr/publications/entreprises-et-droits-de-lhomme (in French). Those that have not already been implemented are included in this action plan.
The CNCDH’s proposals were carefully examined by an inter-ministerial working group run by the CSR Ambassador (members included representatives from the French Ministry for Foreign Affairs and International Development, Ministry for the Economy, Ministry of Finance, Ministry of Labour, Ministry of Justice and Ministry of the Environment). This group distinguished between the recommendations it considered had already been largely implemented by the Government and could be reinforced, those that could form the basis of further proposals for action, and those that should be examined or applied in a more relevant context. This enabled them to establish an overview and develop appropriate proposals for action …
… The French Action Plan for the Implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and actions implemented will be monitored and evaluated by the CNCDH, acting as an independent administrative authority, in line with the recommendation issued by the United Nations working group on business and human rights. The CNCDH will evaluate the policy implemented, issuing regular reports.
I- The State’s Obligation to Protect Human Rights
The European Framework
8. Trade and Investment Agreements [page 19]
In its 2013 opinion, the CNCDH underlined that “the need for coherence should guide France’s foreign policy” and recommended that, in accordance with Guiding Principle no.10, “the Government support and promote the aforementioned instruments within multilateral institutions dealing with economic, commercial and financial issues, including those that are binding, that are designed to ensure that businesses respect human rights.” …
The National Framework
13. The Role of Public Agencies [page 27]
In a 2013 opinion, the CNCDH recommended that the State adopt “measures designed to enable COFACE and its clients to introduce a due diligence process with regards to human rights”. It emphasized that “COFACE’s policies and procedures regarding due diligence should be disclosed, along with the projects they insure” and that “it would also be desirable for the information and assessment process adopted with regard to the impact on human rights of operations insured by COFACE to also fall within the jurisdiction of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and/or the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, the departments of which are able to provide an analysis for each country with regards to respecting human rights, based notably on the ‘information for travellers’ that they produce.” Finally, it stated that “the annual report on the activities of COFACE submitted by France to the European Commission (in accordance with Regulation (EU) 1233/2011) should be discussed at the National Assembly and/or at the Senate and should be the subject of consultations with civil society.”
In addition, the CNCDH recommended that “representatives of civil society and users of those services that are likely to be the subject of public-private partnerships (PPPs) be given a more central role as part of an approach designed to protect and promote the most vulnerable of populations. Indeed, in order for PPPs to be useful for development purposes, it is essential that all stakeholders, including the State, community representatives and users, be kept informed and consulted at all stages of the PPP creation process.” It added that, “in accordance with Guiding Principles nos. 4 and 6, the French State should, by means of its development aid network (the AFD, PROPARCO, the Ministry of the Economy and Finance, the ADETEF, etc.), fulfil its obligation to protect by imposing a series of specifications that include exhaustive impact studies regarding human rights.”
II- Businesses’ Responsibility to Respect Human Rights
5. Employee Representatives [page 43]
In its 2013 opinion, the CNCDH recommended that “employee and union representatives be kept informed and consulted and be able to express their opinions when it comes to producing a company’s management report”, as this would “improve the credibility of such reports”. It added that each company should “be obliged to indicate whether there is in fact any form of union or employee representation within each of its entities and subsidiaries.”…
… In 2013, the CNCDH recommended “including stakeholders outside of the company in the term ‘interested parties’ used in Article L.238-1 of the Commercial Code so as to enable such persons to ask the judge hearing applications for interim relief to order the company to provide any information it might not have provided in its ‘sustainable development’ report.”…
III- Access to Remedy
Introduction [page 46]
In its 2013 opinion, the CNCDH made the following recommendations:
“In order to bring French law into line with Guiding Principle 26, the CNCDH recommends allowing parent companies to actually be held responsible for acts committed by their foreign subsidiaries.
- The CNCDH recommends that consideration be given to the possibility of extending the exception to the principle of legal independence of companies, which is currently limited to environmental issues, to the field of human rights.
- Vicarious liability is an example of something that could be used in civil law to hold the parent company responsible in the event of any violation of human rights committed by its subsidiaries.
- Drawing inspiration from the duty to protect and remedy in the environmental sphere, the CNCDH recommends that a duty of vigilance on the part of the parent company with regards to its subsidiaries be legally imposed with the aim of preventing any violations of human rights that might occur over the course of its activities.
- It should also be possible to hold a contracting party responsible for acts committed by its subcontractors, where it is proven that the relationship with the commercial partner is likely to influence them to operate in a way that is more human rights-friendly.
- With regards to criminal matters, the CNCDH recommends that the competent authorities consider the issue of extending the extraterritorial jurisdiction of French criminal courts. French courts should be able to consider themselves competent with regards to certain offences committed abroad by French companies without being subject to the dual criminality requirement.
- With regards to civil matters, the CNCDH recommends that the government extend the notion of extraterritoriality to the parent company in the case of violations of human rights committed by a foreign subsidiary.
- The CNCDH believes it would be desirable for subsidiary jurisdiction based on the denial of justice to be granted in civil matters in the event that the State competent for recognising detrimental acts on the part of the subsidiary is deemed unable or does not want to initiate and see through to their conclusion legal proceedings.
- The CNCDH recommends that France extend this consideration of the possibility of attributing greater responsibility in civil and criminal matters to businesses for their international activity in the framework of the discussions currently under way in the European Union.”
1. Judicial Mechanisms – At the National Level
Collective Actions [page 51]
In its opinion dated 24 October 2013, the CNCDH recommended “extending collective action, to matters relating to the environment and health in particular. It is also essential that any French or foreign individual or legal entity residing in France or abroad be able to get involved in any collective action initiated against a French company.”…
1.5 The Denial of Justice [page 52]
… In its 2013 opinion, the CNCDH stated that “it would be desirable for subsidiary jurisdiction based on the denial of justice to be granted in civil matters in the event that the State competent for recognising detrimental acts on the part of the subsidiary is deemed unable or does not want to initiate and see through to their conclusion legal proceedings.”
2. Non-Judicial Mechanisms – At the International Level
2.1 The OECD National Contact Point (NCP) [page 54]
… The French NCP has also made it easier to call on external technical experts at any time, as seen during the Rana Plaza hearings and meetings with the CNCDH …
At the National Level
2.5 The Defender of Rights [page 58]
The Defender of Rights, whose legal authority has been enshrined in the Constitution, was created in 2011. This independent administrative entity has jurisdiction to deal with subjects in four specific areas.
Any individual or legal entity can call on the Defender of Rights when they consider that they have been discriminated against or when they observe public or private representatives of law and order (police officers, customs officers, security guards, etc.) engaging in improper conduct.
The Defender of Rights can also be called on to address difficulties in dealing with public services (the Family Allowances Fund or CAF, the national employment agency or Pôle emploi, retirement funds, etc.).
Lastly, the Defender of Rights can be called on whenever someone considers that a child’s rights are not being respected.
Complaints can be lodged by way of an online form, a letter, or through one of the Defender’s deputies.
This Defender of Rights replaces four previous entities: the Mediator of the Republic, the Defender of Children, the High Authority in the Fight against Discrimination and for Equality (HALDE), and the National Commission on Security Ethics (CNDS).
Given the Defender of Rights’ jurisdiction over discrimination-related matters, he/she plays a role in dealing with cases and mediation proceedings concerning CSR.
There is no mention of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs)/ Ombudspersons in the Business and Human Rights Chapter of the Georgian Human Rights NAP.
1. The process of drawing up the Action Plan [page 6-7]
“At the end of 2014 a steering group was appointed. Besides representatives of the six government ministries listed above, it included … two advisory members, the German Institute for Human Rights and econsense. …
In May 2015, the German Institute for Human Rights presented a National Baseline Assessment, a review of the current situation based on interviews with experts from the various groups of participants in the process. This assessment was discussed with interested members of the public at a second plenary conference, conducted by the Federal Ministry of Labour and Social Affairs and the Federal Foreign Office in May 2015.”
1.1 Basic rules of economic policy
Protection within states’ own territory – challenges within Germany [page 14]
“Germany has ratified most international human rights instruments without reservation and possesses, moreover, an independent national institution dedicated to human rights, the German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR). Among the core tasks of the DIMR are policy consultancy, research, the dissemination of information on human rights issues, education on human rights, and dialogue and cooperation with national and international organisations.”
Development policy [page 19]
The current situation
“Seeking to identify practical approaches to development which will boost corporate responsibility for human rights, the Institute for Development and Peace (INEF) has implemented, on behalf of the Economic Cooperation and Development Ministry, a research programme entitled “Human Rights, Corporate Responsibility and Sustainable Development”. A research project sponsored by the same ministry at the German Institute for Human Rights, moreover, supports national human rights institutions in partner countries in the field of human rights and business.”
Section 2: Current legislative and Regulatory Framework
Equality [page 14]
“The Government is committed to promoting equality in all aspects of Irish society. The statutory-based Irish Human Rights and Equality Commission works towards the elimination of discrimination and the promotion of equal opportunities. It is tasked with providing information and advice to persons who consider themselves discriminated against on any of the nine grounds in employment or non-employment situations.”
A. Foundational Principles
… Italy, in line with its undertakings at International level, recognizes the need of further improvements and commits to fill the legislative gaps still existing with refer to specific human rights protection mechanisms and instruments. To this purpose, the Government will:
- Expedite, in agreement with the Parliament, the process of establishment of an independent National Human Rights Institution in adherence with the 1993 Paris Principles and the approval of the draft law introducing the crime of torture in the Penal Code, in line with the 1984 UN Convention on the prohibition of Torture, and other Cruel, Inhuman or Degrading Treatment or Punishment.
- 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;
- 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)
The Lithuanian NAP makes no reference to National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) or Ombudspersons.
Introduction (pg. 8)
… Regular contacts with, among others, the four national human rights institutions took place in the context [of drafting the NAP]:
- The Advisory Commission on Human Rights (Commission consultative des Droits de l’Homme – CCDH) is responsible for the promotion and protection of human rights in the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. As part of its operations, the CCDH provides the government with independent advice, studies, opinions and recommendations, either at the request of the government or on its own initiative, on all matters of general importance concerning human rights in the territory of Luxembourg. It advises the government on the preparation of reports to be submitted by Luxembourg to regional and international human rights bodies. The CCDH addresses itself directly or through any organ of press, especially to make public its opinions and recommendations and to maintain a dialog with all the institutions and national and international organs of defense of human rights;
- The purpose of the Equal Treatment Center is to promote, analyze and monitor the equality of all persons without discrimination on the grounds of race or ethnic origin, sex, sexual orientation, religion or belief, disability and age;
- The Ombudsman Comittee for the Rights of the Child expresses its opinion on draft laws and regulations on the rights of the child and proposes amendments; it reports on the situation of children and ensures the implementation of the Convention on the Rights of the Child and presents to the Government and the Chamber of Deputies an annual report on its activities and on the children’s rights situation in Luxembourg. The Committee promotes the free expression of children and their active participation in issues that concern them; it examines situations in which the rights of the child are not respected and makes recommendations to remedy them. The Committee receives information, complaints and grievances from children and tries to mediate and give advice to ensure the best possible protection of children;
- The Ombudsman receives complaints relating to the functioning of state and municipal administrations, as well as public establishments under the jurisdiction of the State and municipalities. He is responsible for ensuring the external control of places of detention.
Part I – Rational Framework for the development, adoption and implementation of the NAP
2. National Context
2.4 Government Council (pg. 17)
…In general, the [Interdepartmental Committee on Human Rights] is responsible for ensuring the implementation of Luxembourg’s human rights obligations by the various actors concerned, in consultation with national human rights institutions and civil society.
2. Current Policy [page 10]
“The Netherlands Institute for Human Rights can monitor whether relevant legislation complies with the Netherlands’ human rights obligations. It has entered into a dialogue with companies and non-state actors on this issue. The Institute monitors policy, provides independent advice and researches human rights issues.”
4. Access to remedy
4.2 Non-state-based grievance mechanisms [page 41]:
Norway has a number of well-functioning institutions such as the Labour Inspection Authority, the Ombudsman for Children, the Consumer Ombudsman, the Equality and Anti-discrimination Ombudsman, the Norwegian Environment Agency and the Parliamentary Ombudsman for the Public Administration. There are also complaints mechanisms in connection with the rights of employees, children, women and men. For example, on the basis of the Environmental Information Act, the Appeals Board for Environmental Information handles appeals concerning rejected requests from private and public agencies for access to environmental information. The National Contact Point provides information on the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and the UN Guiding Principles. The Contact Point also deals with individual cases independently of the government. In line with the Guidelines, the parties to cases that come before the Contact Point are expected to participate in good faith during the procedure.
3. Actions taken to align NAPs with the UN Guiding Principles
The Polish NAP refers briefly to the Polish NHRI (original: Rzecznik Praw Obywatelskich, English: Commissioner for Human Rights) on page 7 where it lists the Commissioner among the institutions involved in the NAP development.
Pillar III. Access to remedies [page 37]:
A remedy may be sought in the courts (for both criminal and civil actions), labour tribunals, national human rights institutions, National Contact Points under the OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, ombudsperson offices, and government-run complaints offices. In Poland, the Commissioner for Human Rights has the status of the national institution of human rights acting under the Paris Principles.
Principle 1 – State’s duty to protect HR
Institutions specialised in human rights protection and promotion include: the Human Rights Ombudsman, the Advocate of the Principle of Equality, coordinators for equal opportunities for women and men, the Commission for Petitions, Human Rights and Equal Opportunities, the Office of the Republic of Slovenia for National Minorities, and numerous working bodies established by the Government or operating within ministries. (pg. 8-9)
Principle 10 – Basic Orientations
To promote and protect human rights and fundamental freedoms and to enhance legal security, the amended Human Rights Ombudsman Act establishes the Centre for Human Rights… (pg. 34)
The Centre for Human Rights and the Ombudsman will cooperate more closely with international organisations in the fields of enforcing, promoting and developing human rights and fundamental freedoms, including in the framework of the Global Alliance for National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI), the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI), the United Nations (Human Rights Council), the Council of Europe, the Organisation for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE) and the European Union. (pg. 34)
The Council of Human Rights, the establishment of which also arises from the amended Human Rights Ombudsman Act, promotes quality cooperation in the framework of international multilateral mechanisms, its tasks include dealing with reports of the Republic of Slovenia submitted to international organisations in the sphere of human rights, and participating in the drafting of independent reports of the Human Rights Ombudsman on meeting the Republic of Slovenia’s international obligations regarding human rights. (pg. 34)
Principle 27 – Human Rights Ombudsman
According to the Principles relating to the Status of National Institutions (the Paris Principles), Slovenia’s Human Rights Ombudsman has been accredited with B-status. To provide the legal basis for A-status, the Ministry of Justice and the Human Rights Ombudsman prepared the Act Amending the Human Rights Ombudsman Act. (pg. 39)
The Council of Human Rights started its work in June 2018, and it may provide views on development policies on human rights and fundamental freedoms, and, on the initiative of the Ombudsman, address wider issues concerning the promotion, protection and monitoring of human rights and fundamental freedoms. (pg. 39)
The Act Amending the Human Rights Ombudsman Act was adopted by the National Assembly of the Republic of Slovenia in September 2017; it establishes the Centre for Human Rights. (pg. 39)
The Centre for Human Rights, which will start its work in January 2019, will provide information, education, training, analyses and reports fields of human rights and fundamental freedoms promotion and protection, as well as organising consultations related to the enforcement, promotion and protection of human rights and fundamental freedoms. (pg. 39-40)
Regarding initiatives under Article 26 of the Human Rights Ombudsman Act, the Ombudsman’s broader mandate does not include initiatives in the private sector; however, the proposed amendments to the Act will enable a general consideration of issues concerning the human rights situation in the business sector. (pg. 40)
Principle 27 – Planned Measures
With the Act Amending the Human Rights Ombudsman Act, Slovenia expanded the mandate of the Human Rights Ombudsman, thus enabling an upgrade of the Ombudsman’s current scope of activities and ensuring comprehensive provision of informal human rights protection both when dealing with cases and initiatives, and in addressing systemic irregularities, while at the same time strengthening the Ombudsman’s research and educational activities. In this context, a more prominent role is foreseen for the Ombudsman in the sphere of business and human rights as well. (pg. 41)
Implementation of the National Action Plan
The implementation of the National Action Plan of the Republic of Slovenia on Business and Human Rights is monitored by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of the Republic of Slovenia in cooperation with other ministries and government offices; the Ministry may invite representatives of the Government, Human Rights Ombudsman, business sphere, trade unions, NGOs and academia to cooperate. (pg. 43)
A. Meaning and Background
2. Background [page 2]
… The National Human Rights Commission of Korea recommended the Korean government to establish a NAP on business and human rights in September 2016.
C. Current Status
1. Domestic Status [page 3]
- Following the adoption of the ‘UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights’ in 2011, various follow-up measures are being pursued to realize the guiding principle internationally.
– The National Human Rights Commission of Korea also announced ’National Human Rights Policy Basic Plan Recommendation of Business and Human Rights’ on September 2016.
Guiding Principle 27
“In relation to human rights abuses caused by companies, if there is, or might be, a presumed irregular action by the Public Administration, any citizen can go to the Ombudsman and demand their intervention.”
Monitoring and Update
“The Monitoring Commission may invite the Ombudsman, who will have a voice but not a vote. The Commission may also appoint experts of recognized prestige who support their work with their knowledge and experience. These experts may come from the public sector, academia, business, business, trade unions and social organizations, or be professionals in the protection and defense of human rights. These experts will be able to participate in the meetings of the Monitoring Commission as advisors or be consulted on specific issues, but they will not have decision-making capacity.”
3 Access to remedy [page 15-17]
Legal remedies provided by the State
“The different ombudsmen monitor compliance with human rights. Any person who feels that they or anyone else has been treated incorrectly or unfairly by a public authority or official at a central or local government authority can lodge a complaint with the Parliamentary Ombudsmen, also known as the Ombudsmen for Justice.
The Parliamentary Ombudsmen supervise the application of laws and other statutes in public activities. According to their instructions, supervision also covers “other individuals whose employment or assignment involves the exercise of public authority, insofar as this aspect of their activities is concerned” and “officials and those employed by public enterprises, while carrying out, on behalf of such an enterprise, activities in which through the agency of the enterprise the Government exercises decisive influence”.
Certain supervisory functions are also exercised by the Chancellor of Justice, who is appointed by the Government. The duties of the Chancellor of Justice include examining complaints and settling claims for damages directed at the State.
The Office of the Equality Ombudsman is a government agency responsible for monitoring compliance with the Discrimination Act. The Ombudsman is to try in the first instance to induce those to whom the Act applies to comply with it voluntarily. However, the Ombudsman may also bring a court action on behalf of an individual who consents to this. Those who violate the Discrimination Act may be found liable to pay compensation for discrimination to the person discriminated against.
The Ombudsman for Children in Sweden is a government agency whose main task is to represent the rights and interests of children and young people, based on the UN Convention on the Rights of the Child. It monitors society’s compliance with the Convention and drives implementation in municipalities, county councils, regions and government agencies. It is responsible for drawing attention to deficiencies in the application of the Convention and proposing amendments to laws and ordinances. The Children’s Ombudsman submits an annual report to the Government, containing analyses and recommendations to improve the situation of children and young people. The Ombudsman does not monitor other government agencies and, by law, is not able to intervene in individual cases.”
5. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights
5.7 Pillar 1: state duty to protect
5.7.7 Policy coherence
Guiding Principle 8 [page 30]
PI32 National human rights institution
In 2010, the Federal Council and the SCHR embarked on a five-year pilot project with the remit to build capacity at all levels of the political system, in civil society and in business to fulfil Switzerland’s international human rights obligations, and to encourage public debate about human rights. One of the core areas covered by the SCHR is what it refers to as the ‘thematic cluster’ of Human Rights and Business. On 29 June 2016, the Federal Council decided to set up a national human rights institution. Its purpose is to further strengthen human rights in Switzerland, to support the authorities, civil society organisations and business enterprises in human rights matters, and to encourage exchange between the relevant actors. The FDJP and the FDFA have been commissioned to submit a consultation draft to the Federal Council by the end of June 2017. Under the UNGP, national human rights in situations play an important part in supporting States with the implementation of human rights.
The UK 2013 NAP and the UK Updated 2016 NAP both refer generally to work undertaken by NHRIs within the UK.
The UK 2013 NAP notes that:
“Non-judicial grievance mechanisms based on engagement between the parties involved are also an important option. This can be done through an internal company grievance procedure or through arbitration, adjudication, mediation, conciliation and negotiation. Such services can be advised on or offered by … the Ombudsman”
The UK Updated 2016 NAP refers to NHRIs and Ombudsman with regards to non-judicial mechanisms [page 20]:
“We also provide a number of state-based non-judicial mechanisms, including: (…)
- Equality and Human Rights Commission which monitors and promotes human rights compliance and can conduct inquiries, for example it has conducted inquiries into the meat and poultry processing and home care sectors;
- a considerable number of Ombudsman, Regulators and other Government Complaints Offices in industry sectors that have various mechanisms to hear complaints, impose sanctions and award compensation. For example, the Health and Safety Executive, Financial Conduct Authority, Financial Ombudsman Service and Advertising Standards Authority. The Groceries Code Adjudicator is an independent adjudicator that oversees the relationship between supermarkets and their suppliers. It ensures that large supermarkets treat their direct suppliers lawfully and fairly, investigates complaints and arbitrates in disputes.”
The U.S. NAP makes no reference to tax National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) / Ombudspersons. The U.S. does not have a NHRI.