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A chance to curtail abuse in Germany’s supply chains

Author: Juliane Kippenberg, Human Rights Watch, Published on: 10 September 2019

...An alliance of 64 NGOs and trade unions in Germany—including Human Rights Watch—has launched a Supply Chains Law Campaign urging the German government to propose a bill by 2020 that would ensure German companies put in place human rights safeguards in their supply chains...

Now is a crucial moment to push for a robust law. Germany’s government of conservatives and social democrats has already agreed to consider legislation on human rights safeguards in supply chains in its coalition agreement. The next national elections are scheduled for September 2021, which means that any new bill would have to be tabled soon. The Campaign hopes to convince wavering MPs and mobilize the public to support a petition addressed to Chancellor Angela Merkel...

Conservative and social democrat coalition partners have struggled to agree on a national action plan to protect human rights in company supply chains, and a mechanism to monitor its implementation. A German law would be vital to regulating company behaviour in Germany and protecting rights in the supply chains of one of the world’s largest export economies.

But a German law could prove a positive influence across the European Union. Germany will have the EU Presidency in the second half of 2020 and would be in a great position to help pave the way for EU-wide mandatory due diligence, ensuring strong, rights-respecting business practices in many more countries.

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