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31 Jul 2015


Colombia: Expert commentary on challenges & opportunities to develop a National Action Plan on business & human rights

“Colombia: Why implementing the UN Guiding Principles is an uphill battle”

(Part 1 of 2):  While I was in Colombia last week, I met with people…to discuss the state of play of human rights and business in their country. Many of the stories I heard described a scale and scope of human rights abuses more severe and complex than in most places I’ve visited. Unlike elsewhere though, I also found out that Colombia is well on its way to becoming the first country in the hemisphere to take broad policy measures to prevent and remediate corporate human rights abuses…In March 2015, the Colombian Government announced that it would develop a Nation Action Plan (NAP) on Business and Human Rights to translate the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into local practice. The ambitious deadline for finalizing this public policy document is December 10, 2015 – International Human Rights Day – a date, which if met, would make Colombia the first country in the Americas to publish one, beating Chile, Brazil, Mexico and the United States. While this is a good sign for things to come in Colombia, there is also trouble on the horizon. A lack of political will and capacity, as well as an environment of austerity and suspicion toward human rights, risk making the implementation of the NAP a steep uphill battle.