Action point 1, Elaborer une boîte à outils destinée aux entreprises et organisations concernant les droits de l’Homme [Develop a toolkit for companies and organizations on human rights], presents the action of developing, in collaboration with experts and its main human rights stakeholders and organizations, a toolbox that will help companies prevent human rights violations and promote the respect for human rights through their activities. This “Toolbox” will be composed of different elements including concrete tools for applying the principle of human rights due diligence.
Action point 5, Assurer la diffusion de la boîte à outils et de la brochure sur les mécanismes de réparation parmi les représentants belges à l’étranger et sensibiliser ceux-ci à la question [Ensure the dissemination of the toolbox and brochure on grievance mechanisms among Belgian representatives abroad and raise awareness of the issue] links Action point 2 and 3 together. The action aims at raising awareness among the network of Belgian diplomacy on the issues of companies’ social responsibility, sustainable development and the problematic of human rights violations committed by companies operating abroad. They will receive a practical toolbox (Action point 3) to better inform companies who contact them with a wish to expand their activities abroad. The toolbox will also include elements on grievance mechanisms (based on Action 2), enabling the Belgian diplomatic network to better inform businesses, victims of possible violations and all other interested parties about the access to remedy in Belgium.
Action point 6, Charte belge ODD sur le rôle du secteur privé, de la société civile et du secteur public dans la coopération internationale [Belgian SDG Charter on the role of the private sector, civil society and the public sector in international cooperation]
The NAP states that in 2016 the Cooperation for Belgian Development initiated the writing and publication of a Belgian SDGs Charter on the role of the private sector, civil society and the public sector in international cooperation. The first step in the realization of this Charter was the organization of a round table at the beginning of February 2016, which brought together around 40 CEOs from companies active in developing countries to inform them on the 2030 Agenda and the role that could be reserved for the Belgian public sector. The Charter includes concrete commitments for mainstreaming the SDGs within the activities of the organizations, companies and stakeholders involved in development cooperation as well as monitoring and evaluating of the commitments made in this frame. Human rights are an integral part of the Charter.
Action point 15, Intégrer le principe de « diligence raisonnable » au sein des organismes de gestion de l’entreprise, également en matière de droits de l’Homme [Incorporate the principle of “due diligence” into the management of the company, also in the terms of human rights] is the main action point on human rights due diligence. Concretely, the action will consist of contacting those responsible for the two Belgian corporate governance codes in order to examine the possibility of integrating international developments, in particular with regard to human rights, which will entail the attempt to minimize the administrative burden on public authorities or enterprises, but without impairing the application and implementation of ambitious criteria and controls. The integration of the ‘due diligence’ obligation for companies covered by the EU Directive 2014/95/EU concerning human rights in the instruments of corporate governance will allow for the creation of new business opportunities and reassure better continuity of activities, as well as clarify the expectation of the plublic authority vis-à-vis companies, in particular companies that do not yet have a comprehensive social responsibility policy, with an emphasis on prevention rather than punishment.
Action point 20, Promouvoir les entreprises publiques socialement responsables [Promote state enterprises that are socially responsible]. This action consists of the creation of a public business learning network, which aims at gathering knowledge, pool know-how and exchange experiences, in order to concretize the commitments/ambitions of CSR. Particular attention will be paid to how public enterprises can integrate and promote respect for human rights within their organization via tools such as reporting and/or “due diligence”. The recommendations contained in the latest report published by the UN Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations, which is specifically devoted to public enterprises, may serve as a guide for these discussions.
The learning network will be a reservoir of ideas and a catalyst in the development of a learning dynamic and continuous innovation aimed at exemplarity. It can take different forms. The networks’ activities, organization, operating methods and needs will be determined in consultation with the members. The activities of this learning network will also enable public enterprises to meet the demand for transparency and social reporting.
Action point 24, Accorder une attention particulière à la question des droits de l’enfant dans la sensibilisation des entreprises [Pay special attention to the issue of children’s rights in awareness raising of enterprises], is specifically targeting the issue of children’s rights. Actions will include the active support and awareness raising of companies on the Principles governing enterprises in the field of children’s rights, in order to allow Belgian companies to maximize the positive effects of their activities on the lives of children by supporting and respecting their rights and those of their parents or guardians, including the right to a decent wage.
Action point 32, Former les entreprises dans le domaine du respect des droits de l’Homme [Train companies in the field of respect for human rights] focuses on capacity building of Wallonia’s businesses. The NAP mentions that “public policy initiatives may target intermediaries to ensure that human rights issues are permanently and actively integrated into education and training activities. In this respect, a link could be set up with the “training voucher” system of the Walloon Region. The aim of this system is to promote the training of workers engaged in SMEs or self-employed persons in the Walloon Region. To this end, they are invited by the Walloon Region to participate in training courses during or outside normal working hours.” The government will encourage companies with activities abroad to use the website http://www.mvorisicochecker.nl/en (developed by the Dutch MFA) to evaluate social and environmental risks, and risks related to governance of activities abroad, as well as mitigation actions.
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The Chilean NAP does not make an explicit reference to GP13.
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The Colombian NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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The Czech NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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Introduction [page 9]
The initiatives in the Danish Government’s action plan on Business and Human Rights are focused on preventing and mitigating adverse impacts on human rights by Danish companies at home and abroad.
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Finland’s NAP makes no reference to GP13.
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The French NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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The German NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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The Irish NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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Italy’s NAP does not contain a reference to GP 13.
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The Lithuanian NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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The Dutch NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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3.2 Responsible Business Conduct [page 31]
An enterprise may cause or contribute to adverse human rights impacts if for example its employees are working under disgraceful conditions or if the living conditions of the local community that are directly affected by the company’s operations decline without prior explanation from or dialogue with the relevant parties, including the local authorities. Impacts on the climate and the environment resulting from the enterprise’s activities, for example through land use, exploitation of natural resources, greenhouse gas emissions or releases of hazardous substances, may also have adverse impacts on a broader range of human rights, such as minority and indigenous people’s rights or the right to life, health, food, water or adequate housing. If a company is responsible for such impacts, it is also responsible for addressing them.
Norwegian companies should be aware that the UN Guiding Principles also include a responsibility to seek to prevent or reduce activities by their business relationships that have adverse human rights impacts. Examples of business relationships are subcontractors, enterprises the company has invested in, and business partners. However, the principles also emphasise that this does not mean that the company is complicit in the detrimental activities of its business relationships. They encourage companies to use their influence to mitigate the adverse impacts of such activities.
Political unrest and conflict entail a particularly high risk of human rights abuses. Companies that operate in such areas should therefore exercise particular due diligence if they are to avoid becoming involved in such abuses. A typical example is abuses perpetrated by security personnel hired to protect the company. There is also a higher risk of corruption, illegal transactions, sexual abuse and other forms of violence against civilians.
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The Polish NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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The Spanish NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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2. The corporate responsibility to respect [page 13]
The Government’s clear expectation is that companies operating in Sweden or abroad respect human rights in all their activities. This means that their business activity should not cause, contribute or be linked to human rights abuses, not least in conflict-affected areas, and that they should act to prevent such abuses.
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4. Position of the Federal Council on the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
4.3 The position and expectations of the Federal Council [page 7]
In compliance with Pillar 2 of the UNGP and the ‘Human Rights’ chapter of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, business enterprises that are based and/or operate in Switzerland should respect human rights in all of their business activities, wherever they operate. Accordingly they should seek to prevent adverse human rights impacts..
The activities of Swiss companies should not result in any adverse impacts on human rights. They should therefore seek to prevent any negative effects to which they are directly linked through their business relationships. Business enterprises thus also have at least an indirect responsibility for business relationships via which they either themselves contribute to human rights abuses, or might otherwise become involved in. ‘Business relationships’ in the sense of the UNGP are understood to include relations with business partners (including entities in their value chains), and any other non-State or State entity linked to the company’s business operations, products or services.
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The UK 2013 NAP
The UK 2013 NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
The UK 2016 updated NAP
The UK 2016 updated NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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The US NAP does not contain a reference to GP13.
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