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19 Jan 2024

European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) c

EU: European Network of National Human Rights Institutions recommends human rights based approach in Forced Labour Ban

"ENNHRI Statement on the planned Forced Labour Product Ban in the EU"

The European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) calls upon EU lawmakers to adopt a comprehensive, human rights-based approach in the proposed Forced Labour Ban (FL Ban). This piece of legislation is aimed at eliminating products made with forced labour from the EU market. ENNHRI believes that while a FL ban can be a critical step in the global fight against forced labour, the current proposal requires key changes to effectively address the complexities of forced labour and ensure a tangible difference in the lives of those trapped in forced labour.

This statement has been drafted by ENNHRI’s Business and Human Rights Working Group. In line with a previous statement on the FL Ban, ENNHRI makes the following comments with a view to informing the legislative process:

  1. Include remediation as a requirement to lift an enforcement decision [...]
  2. Ensure an effective implementation [...]
  3. Ensuring stakeholder involvement [...]
  4. Alignment with the CSDDD [...]

ENNHRI’s Recommendations

The FL Ban provides an opportunity to address the severe human rights abuse of forced labour that continues to prevail across supply chains. EU companies are deeply integrated in the global economy and their products can therefore be associated with instances of forced labour whether they occur in the EU or in third countries. To address the use of forced labour and avoid unintended consequences, ENNHRI encourages the EU lawmakers to take a human rights-based approach and align the FL Ban with international standards. Attention must be paid not only to exclude products made with forced labour from EU supply chains, but also to facilitate remediation for the victims of exploitation. The right to an effective remedy for a violation of human rights is recognised in international human rights law and demands not only processes to secure justice, but also appropriate reparations.1 A human rights-based approach to forced labour would also complement the planned Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD), currently in trilogue, which sets out general due diligence obligations for large companies to identify and address impacts on human rights and the environment. [...]