Un mechanism in focus
Organizations lauch initiative to guarantee effectiveness of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Conectas, Justiça Global (from Brazil) and DeJusticia (from Colombia) have launched an observatory to monitor the activities of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. The initiative coincides with the 2nd Forum on Business and Human Rights, held in Geneva from December 2-4.
The Working Group (WG), which reports to the Human Rights Council, was created in 2011 to guarantee the implementation of the Guiding Principles developed by John Ruggie, when he was special representative of the UN Secretary General for business and human rights.
From the viewpoint of the organizations, the WG ought to step up the debate on how to improve the Guiding Principles in various areas, such as on the issue of access to justice.
“The focus on good practices and dissemination of the Guiding Principles seems to ignore the basic phenomenon that it should be addressing: the power difference between the victims and the companies that very often operate in alliance with the State,” reads the document. “If the WG does not clearly adopt a pro-victim focus, its work will contribute little to modifying the regrettable situation we find ourselves in today.”
To respond to the problem, the organizations are calling on the WG to pay more attention to the people and communities affected by the operations of companies. They also ask that the group handle complaints of human rights violations in a similar way as other special procedures of the UN System and that each three-year mandate of the group be guided by a strategic work plan.
All the documents prepared by the observatory, including the review of the first two-and-a-half years of the WG’s work, can be consulted here.
The analysis of the report of the WG on indigenous peoples can be consulted here.