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21 Feb 2022

Front Line Defenders

Commentary: How effective mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence legislation can prevent reprisals against defenders

This briefing outlines the importance of addressing reprisals against human rights defenders as part of effective human rights and environmental due diligence, and our key recommendations for how the EU must address these risks in prospective legislation... In the most recent EU Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy covering 2020- 2024,2 the EU commits to supporting and protecting human rights defenders including through EU protection mechanisms, as well as working to ensure the positive recognition of their important role. The legislative initiative on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence (HREDD) will be a critical opportunity for the EU and its member states to greatly impact the safety of human rights defenders globally. As discussions on the initiative move forward, it is important that the EU consider how the to align this legislation with its foreign policy commitments on the protection of human rights defenders... The Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC) documented over 600 attacks against defenders working on businessrelated human rights issues in 2020... The legislation must... include a negative obligation for the business enterprise to refrain from conducting reprisals against human rights defenders, as well as a positive obligation to prevent reprisals linked to its operations and value chain...