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21 Nov 2014

International Organisation of Employers & Employer's Federation of Western Switzerland

Intl. Organisation of Employers conference discusses status & trends on business & human rights

"IOE and Employer's Federation of Western Switzerland (FER) host high-level conference on Business & Human Rights in Geneva", 20 Nov 2014

...[The Conference] took a comprehensive look at the status of integration of...the duty of companies to respect human rights...It was clear from this first set of presentations that there has been tremendous uptake of the UN Guiding Principles by many companies, who have developed and integrated rigorous due diligence processes and human rights impact assessments of their operations...[B]ut it was recognised that more awareness raising and capacity building, particularly in SMEs, needs to be achieved...The second panel of speakers... shared perspectives on government performance in relation to the State "duty to protect"... Here, a dappled picture emerged, with Europe ahead in terms of producing National Action Plans for the implementation of the Guiding Principles...The third pillar of the Ruggie framework: "access to remedy" was the topic of the fourth panel...Here, there was alignment that prevention is key to avoiding human rights violations and needs to be better addressed. The discussion also showed that, besides judicial avenues, there are many other approaches to providing remedy that might serve claimants more effectively...The...final panel considered emerging instruments on the horizon...Questions were raised over the effectiveness of any treaty on business and human rights...