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Article

Opening remarks by Ms. Elżbieta Karska Chairperson of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights

This year we underline that it is time for Governments to act and step up in their job as catalysts for business respect for human rights. Indeed, Government action is overdue and urgent to adequately address the challenges of today and prevent those of tomorrow...

The duty of vigilance law in France has set the example for similar initiatives underway elsewhere. In Europe the tide seems to be working for mandatory human rights due diligence...

We have also seen new national action plans on business and human rights...

Yet, we have a very long way to go. The reality is that people in all regions continue to suffer from business-related harms, often on a large-scale and with irreversible damage...

[F]or three years the Corporate Human Rights Benchmark has ranked major companies in high-risk sectors. The results show that most companies are still not demonstrating respect for human rights...

[T]his suggests that there are limits to the market-based approaches linked to rankings, reputational and investor pressure.

Without a level playing field, many companies can continue to ignore their responsibility to respect human rights.

A key message of the Working Group in our report to the General Assembly last year was Governments need to close such governance gaps and market failures...