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Commentary: Columbian NAP allowed progress in business and human rights, but requires strengthening in conflict regions

Author: Germán Zarama, RightsasUsual, Published on: 21 August 2018

"The Colombian National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights: from Regional Milestone to Effective Local Implementation", 16 August 2018

On December 9, 2015, Colombia adopted a National Action Plan on Human Rights and Business (NAP), as a three-year public policy instrument that focuses on harmonizing protection and guarantee of human rights with economic development. It was the first South American, and indeed the first non-European, State to do so...The Colombian NAP was adopted at a particularly delicate time for the country. Colombia has been experimenting with different transition mechanisms that seek to establish peace conditions in the regions that historically have been affected by the armed conflict. In this context, it is worth highlighting the progress that the human rights and business policy has made possible, and the large number of actors that have joined the discussions and started to work on implementation actions.However, especially in conflict regions, more concrete actions are needed, as there are still conflicts directly or indirectly associated with business activity. Many community-based organizations have indicated it is time for change. They call for the NAP to be strengthened, which probably means moving from a voluntary to a binding approach regarding business commitments, especially in matters such as the protection of human rights defenders.

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