Global survey: Government actions on business & human rights (2014-2015)

In 2014, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre contacted 101 governments with questions about their actions on business and human rights.  The results are on the "Government Action Platform".  Below are the survey questions in 14 languages - downloadable in Word format.  (The questions in English have also been pasted below in full).

Note: The deadline for the first round of responses to this survey was 31 October 2014.  However we continue welcome responses, which will be added to the database.  Please complete them using the Word document and email them to horvath (at) business-humanrights.org.

English: Government questionnaire: Actions on business & human rights

Français: Questionnaire A L’attention Du Gouvernement: Mesures Relatives Aux Entreprises Et Aux Droits De L’homme

Deutsch: Fragebogen der Regierung: Maßnahmen Für Wirtschaft & Menschenrechte

Español: Cuestionario a Gobiernos: Acciones en Empresas & Derechos Humanos

Italiano: Questionario Per I Governi: Azioni Su Imprese E Diritti Umani

Burmese: Government actions on business & human rights

简体中文: 政府问卷: 工商业与人权领域的行动

العربية:  استبيان للحكومات الإجراءات المُتخذة بشأن "الأعمال التجارية وحقوق الإنسان" 

Polski: Ankieta Dls Rządów: Działania Na Rzecz Biznesu I Praw Człowieka

Português: Questionário Para Governos: Ações Sobre Empresas E Direitos Humanos

Pусский: АНКЕТА ДЛЯ ПРАВИТЕЛЬСТВ ДЕЙСТВИЯ В СФЕРЕ БИЗНЕСА И ПРАВ ЧЕЛОВЕКА

日本語: 政府アンケート: ビジネスと人権に関する行動

Thai: แบบสอบถาม: การปฏิบัติของภาครัฐต่อประเด็นธุรกิจกับสิทธิมนุษยชน

Turkish: Turkish government survey on business and human rights

 

Government Questionnaire: Actions on Business and Human Rights

 

Welcome and thank you for completing this questionnaire.

This questionnaire aims to identify actions governments are taking on business and human rights.  

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011, sets out States’ duty to protect human rights against abuses related to businesses, companies’ responsibility to respect human rights, and the need to provide access to remedy for victims.  The questions in this survey relate to how governments are implementing the Guiding Principles.  See here for further tools & guidance.

The questionnaire should be completed by government representatives familiar with steps the government has taken on business & human rights.  One government representative may wish to coordinate a government response, or several government representatives from various departments or ministries may wish to complete the survey based on their knowledge.

Some questions relate to information your government may have provided to the UN Working Group on business & human rights survey earlier this year.  These are clearly marked in case you wish to use your previous responses in this questionnaire.

Feel free to be in touch with [email protected] with any questions.

Country: _________________

Department/Ministry of respondent: _________________

Name of respondent: _________________
Please note that this will be kept confidential.

Email or phone number: _________________
Please note that this will be kept confidential.

1.     Has your government taken any initiatives to reduce companies’ negative impacts on human rights that you consider particularly successful?  Please give one or more examples.

Please highlight whether the initiatives make reference to international human rights standards and whether they were undertaken in consultation with affected stakeholders.

2.     What department or departments have significant responsibility for business and human rights within your government? 

If several departments are involved, please indicate how your government ensures coherence across these departments.

3.     Has your government undertaken new business & human rights initiatives or strengthened existing ones since the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles in June 2011?

  • Yes (please continue to question 3.1)
  • No (please continue to question 4)

3.1   Below is a list of human rights issues on which companies may have an impact. Please indicate the top 5 priority issues that your government has taken steps to address since June 2011.                                

Types of company impacts:

  • Health (including environmental health, workplace health & safety)
  • Forced labour & trafficking
  • Discrimination
  • Sexual harassment
  • Other core labour rights (including freedom of association & trade union rights)
  • Land rights and displacement
  • Access to water
  • Housing
  • Freedom of expression & right to privacy
  • Operations in conflict zones
  • Abuses linked to security for company operations (e.g.: torture & ill-treatment)
  • Tax avoidance
  • Women’s rights
  • Impacts on children, including child labour
  • Indigenous groups and/or ethnic & racial minorities
  • Migrant workers
  • Other _____________ (please specify)

3.2  For one or more of the issues selected above, please give examples of steps your government has taken.

Please highlight whether the initiatives make reference to international human rights standards and whether they were undertaken in consultation with affected stakeholders.

In your response, you may wish to refer to the following types of measures[1]:

  • Legislative or constitutional
  • Regulatory
  • Judicial
  • Enforcement
  • Public procurement
  • State finance such as export credit agencies, other government loans or guarantees
  • Company reporting requirements on human rights
  • Social and environmental licensing, including mandatory impact assessments
  • Steps related to state-owned enterprises
  • Investment & trade treaties
  • Guidance & incentives

For examples regarding government actions on human rights due diligence, see here.

Examples of steps regarding issue #1 (selected in question 3 above)

 

Examples of steps regarding issue #2 (selected in question 3 above)

 

Examples of steps regarding issue #3 (selected in question 3 above)

 

Examples of steps regarding issue #4 (selected in question 3 above)

 

Examples of steps regarding issue #5 (selected in question 3 above)
 

4.   Has your government adopted a National Action Plan on business and human rights as encouraged by the UN Human Rights Council and UN Working Group on business & human rights, or will it do so in the future?

Please specify timeline if planning to adopt a National Action Plan in the future. Please also reference your government’s corporate social responsibility, development, or human rights national action plan if they include sections on business & human rights.

4.1  If your government has adopted a National Action Plan or is planning on adopting one, please highlight whether it makes reference to international human rights standards and whether it was developed in consultation with affected stakeholders.

5.   Access to remedy

In your responses to the questions below, please highlight whether the initiatives make reference to international human rights standards and whether they were undertaken in consultation with affected stakeholders and experts including legal advocates.

5.1   What steps have been taken to develop new judicial or administrative remedies or to reduce barriers to existing remedies for victims?

Barriers addressed may include high cost of bringing claims, and lack of lawyers and other legal resources, such as legal aid from NGOs or legal barriers such as doctrines that do not allow victims to bring human rights claims against companies.

Steps taken may include measures to provide legal aid, to allow group claims or class actions, and to increase resources for prosecutors.

Administrative remedies may include decisions by labour tribunals or other regulations with the force of law.

5.2   What steps have been taken to develop new non-judicial remedies, improve existing mechanisms, and reduce barriers for victims?

Non-judicial remedies may include OECD National Contact Points, industry-specific complaints offices, or multi-stakeholder initiatives with government involvement.

5.3   For companies headquartered in your country or their subsidiaries, has your government taken steps to enhance accountability for human rights impacts abroad? If so, please specify.

If companies headquartered in your country do not have significant operations abroad, please indicate that this question does not apply.

6.     Please indicate the extent to which each of the factors below impedes your government’s ability to take action on business and human rights.

 
Factor Most important factor Significant factor Minor factor Not a factor
Lack of resources for enforcement, monitoring and prosecution        
Opposition or lack of consensus within government        
Opposition by economic interest groups or business associations        
Other opposition by influential people or groups outside government        
Political limitations imposed by foreign governments or multilateral institutions        
Concern about deterring foreign investment        
Lack of understanding or awareness of business & human rights in government        
Challenges of coordinating across government departments        
Other: ______________________        
 

6.1   What, if any, form of support would your government welcome the most to help advance its actions to improve companies’ impacts on human rights?

Forms of support may include capacity-building, training, technical assistance, sharing knowledge, and collaborative learning with peer countries.

7.     Please share with us any further comments, including ideas for future collaboration and shared learning to advance business & human rights.

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