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5 Jul 2023


EU: Over 160 global faith leaders unite in urgent call for a strong EU due diligence Directive

"Global faith leaders unite in urgent call for a strong EU due diligence Directive", 5 July 2023

In a powerful show of solidarity, more than 160 faith leaders worldwide, men and women from various faiths, have come together in a common statement urging European Union lawmakers to adopt a robust legal framework to hold companies accountable for environmental damage and human rights abuses. The statement, released by CIDSE – the international family of Catholic social justice organisations – emphasises the urgent need for a sustainable and just global economy, highlighting the crucial role that the draft EU Corporate Sustainable Due Diligence Directive can play in safeguarding human rights and the planet. This is not the first time religious leaders have spoken out in favour of mandatory laws to prevent and remedy corporate abuses. In 2020, more than 230 Catholic Bishops urged for similar legislation

In the statement, faith leaders call for a strong EU law that is aligned with international standards, and that covers a substantial and wide range of human rights and environmental impacts through a company’s whole value chain.  Amongst the demands advanced, a crucial place is given to civil liability. For the religious leaders, “when corporations cause or contribute to harm, victims should not be expected to carry the burden of evidence”. They call on the EU Parliament, Council and Commission, to pay special attention to Indigenous Peoples, women and human rights and environmental defenders who suffer the most from corporate abuses. 

Faith Leaders from the Global South are often close to communities experiencing first-hand the devastating impacts of corporate activities, especially when large extractive or agro-industrial projects violate their rights.

One of them is Dom Vicente Ferreira, currently Bishop of Bahia (Brazil), previously Auxiliary Bishop of Belo Horizonte. When in 2019 a dam certified safe by a EU company collapsed in Brumadinho, killing 270 people and causing long-lasting environmental damage, Monsignor Ferreira and his community were ready to help the victims.

The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is currently undergoing trilogue negotiations, which should reach an end by the end of the year. Faith communities are placing high expectations on EU decision-makers...