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Operationalizing the UN Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights: Polish & Italian steps to adopt National Action Plans

Author: Maciej Żenkiewicz, Externado University of Colombia & Agnieszka Smoleńska, Nicolaus Copernicus University in Toruń, Published on: 13 December 2017

The main aim of the article is to critically assess Polish draft and Italian NAP... Even if some criticism [is] raised, it should not overshadow the general positive perception of the actions taken by governments, who are eager to commit and support human rights obligations of business. Our criticism of NAPs, of its imperfect structure and contents, does not mean that the principles of the UNGP will not be observed, or that those actions are preordained to be ineffective. What is of the greatest importance is its application and attitude of the state to fulfil it...

Our analysis reveals the overall tendency of Polish and Italian governments to reach mainly for voluntary solutions, instead of trying to balance them with legally binding measures as recommended by the UNWG. Time will show to what extent and how effectively both governments will promote their non-binding proposals... Nevertheless, it is essential to avoid the vagueness which characterises both documents analyzed in this article... [I]t is important to [...] cooperate with civic society organizations which [...] demand clear answers and model solutions, [...] but also constantly push the limits and put the government under pressure to improve and engage more.

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