Over 110 bishops call on governments to introduce mandatory due diligence for companies

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Autor/in: CISDE

With the outbreak of Covid-19, humanity faces an unprecedented global crisis...

As Bishops, we feel we have a moral and spiritual obligation to speak about the urgency of reordering the priorities during and in the aftermath of this crisis.

[T]he United Nations, the European Union and states have a unique opportunity to step up...

We call on all governments to uphold their obligations under international law to protect human rights and prevent corporate abuses. In that sense we welcome ... the announcement by the EU Commissioner for Justice of mandatory and robust legislation...

We believe the laws can succeed in bringing tangible change to communities if they also include enhanced access to judicial remedy for victims, in order to comply with states’ duty to protect against corporate human rights abuses such as land grabbing, the killing of human rights defenders, forced and child labour, gender-based violence, and environmental degradation and deforestation.

Accordingly, all states should also ensure their constructive and active participation in the UN negotiations for a legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises...

The coronavirus crisis should be taken as an opportunity to start a just transition and to put in place a new economic system that serves people and the planet first. 

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Autor/in: CISDE

“Agora mais do que nunca, Precisamos de uma devida diligência obrigatória na cadeia de abastecimento para travar os abusos das empresas e garantir a solidariedade global” 

Com o surto de Covid-19, a humanidade enfrenta uma crise global sem precedentes ...Como bispos, sentimos que temos uma obrigação moral e espiritual de falar sobre a urgência de reordenar as prioridades durante e após a crise...Apelamos a todos os governos para que cumpram suas obrigações sob o direito internacional de proteger os direitos humanos e impedir abusos corporativos. Nesse sentido, saudamos ... o anúncio pelo Comissário da Justiça da UE de legislação obrigatória e robusta ...Acreditamos que as leis podem conseguir trazer mudanças visíveis para as comunidades se também incluírem um melhor acesso a recursos judiciais para as vítimas, para cumprir o seu dever de proteção contra abusos das empresas, como a apropriação de terras, violações dos direitos humanos, o assassínio de defensores dos direitos humanos, trabalho forçado e infantil, violência de género, degradação ambiental e deflorestação. Desse modo, todos os Estados devem também garantir a sua participação construtiva e ativa nas negociações das Nações Unidas com vista a um instrumento juridicamente vinculativo que regule, no direito internacional sobre direitos humanos, as atividades das empresas transnacionais e de outras empresas. Esse Tratado impediria qualquer país ou empresa de recorrer a modelos de produção exploradores e de aceitar a destruição da criação para melhorar a sua posição competitiva no mercado mundial. O sistema em vigor prejudica as pessoas e o planeta, e somos chamados a fazer melhor. Confiamos na nossa possibilidade de aprender coletivamente com as experiências do passado e com a crise atual, e propomos um caminho que valorize a justiça e os direitos humanos, pondo a vida acima dos lucros. A crise do coronavírus deve ser uma oportunidade para começar uma transição justa e implementar um novo sistema económico que sirva primeiro as pessoas e o planeta. A crise do coronavírus deve ser uma oportunidade para começar uma transição justa e implementar um novo sistema económico que sirva primeiro as pessoas e o planeta.

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Autor/in: CISDE

Several Catholic Church leaders signed the Bishops’ Statement: “Now more than ever, we need mandatory supply chain due diligence to stop corporate abuse and guarantee global solidarity”. The statement published today demands States to urgently stop ongoing corporate abuse by introducing binding legislation to regulate their activities and make them accountable by law. According to the Bishops, our economies should follow values of dignity and justice, and be respectful of the rights of the people and of the environment. Corporate abuse is widespread and the Covid-19 crisis has exacerbated the situation especially for the most vulnerable communities who were lacking social protection...

The Bishops argue that in the face of failed voluntarism, mandatory legislation to regulate transnational corporations is the only legislative option to protect communities...

EU Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders took a step in the right direction... Welcoming such developments, the statement also calls State leaders to advance on binding legislation at the UN level through engagement in the current process for a UN Treaty on Human Rights and business activities...

The Bishops statement will remain open to collect even more signatures, especially in the run up to the next round of negotiations of a Legally Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights...

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Autor/in: Cardinal Jean-Claude Hollerich & Cardinal Charles Maung Bo, EU Observer

In the recent years, scandals involving multinational companies have proliferated, putting into question the morality of our economic system...

[T]he pandemic has upended our certainties and provided the opportunity to re-assess our world system and spark a just transition...

[M]ultinational companies [...] can use: the Investor-State Dispute Settlement (ISDS) mechanism, a private tribunal system through which they can bring to court any state, claiming back lost benefits because states passed social or environmental laws...

As cardinals, we [...] have a strong moral obligation to speak out... Guided by our Catholic values, we ... join[ed] over 110 bishops to call on governments to better regulate private corporations...

Our call comes after a positive development in this direction: the announcement by the EU commissioner for Justice Didier Reynders in May of a mandatory and robust legislation on human rights due diligence. 

Under no condition should this process be stalled...

[W]e believe the laws should include enhanced access to justice for victims, in order to comply with the states duty to protect them against corporate abuses...

[W]e call on all states to engage in the UN negotiations for a legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations...

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