Submissions: UK Natl. Action Plan review process (2015)

The UK was the first government to publish its National Action Plan on business and human rights in September 2013 and committed to updating its plan by the end of 2015.  The review process was launched in March 2015, with issue-specific workshops taking place in June - July 2015.

Below are submissions and documents related to the review process.  Formal submissions may be sent to Francis Evans ([email protected]).  Please send any submissions you would like to be posted here to Eniko Horvath ([email protected]).

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Report
18 August 2015

Report on access to remedies in the UK for victims of corporate human rights abuses

Author: Robert McCorquodale, British Institute of International and Comparative Law

Survey of the provision in the United Kingdom of access to remedies for victims of  human rights harms involving business enterprises", 17 Jul 2015

The objective of this report is to provide an analysis of the current State-based judicial and non-judicial mechanisms available in the United Kingdom to enable access to a remedy for victims of human rights abuses by business enterprises, whether the abuses occur in the UK or overseas. In identifying the remedies available, and the legislative and institutional framework enabling them, consideration is given to the barriers to accessing remedies. The overall aim of the report is to inform the review process of the UK’s National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights

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Article
13 August 2015

Summary of UK National Action Plan review workshops

Author: UK Department for Business, Innovation & Skills; UK Foreign & Commonwealth Office

"Updating the UK National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights: Headline messages from workshops held in w/c 29 June"

[Within the context of updating the UK National Action Plan on business and human rights,] a series of eight workshops held at the end of June and the beginning of July...The workshops were themed according to the three ‘pillars’ of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, with two cross-cutting workshops on conflict-affected areas and modern-day slavery and human trafficking. Some of the comments and proposals made relate to the process as a whole, including the structure of the updated plan and ownership within government. These proposals were made at more than one workshop and for the sake of clarity they have been listed separately. The project team has reported ideas and recommendations impartially, even where they run counter to established government policy or there would be practical barriers to adoption. Therefore, the fact that a proposal is recorded here should not be taken as endorsement or as having the implication that the proposal is likely to be adopted in the updated plan.

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Article
7 August 2015

Trades Union Congress submission

Author: Trades Union Congress

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Article
5 August 2015

CAFOD submission

Author: CAFOD

CAFOD’s main concern is whether the UN process is resulting in improvements for communities and groups on the ground. Will implementing the Guiding Principles lead to changes in the behaviour of states and companies? This is a question which has been raised by partner organisations in Cambodia, Colombia, Mexico and Zambia. It is an urgent issue for many of the communities with which our partner organisations work...The UK Government deserves credit for this public commitment to implement the UN Guiding Principles and being the first country to publish its National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. However there were weaknesses in the first iteration of the National Action Plan which it is important that the review addresses. In addition, now that a number of other states have produced Action Plans as well, the Government can draw on broader experience and learning to inform the review of its plan...

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Article
5 August 2015

Shift submission

Author: Shift

Shift is pleased to submit these recommendations to the UK Government as part of the Government’s revisionof its 2013 National Action Plan...As the first state to develop a NAP on the UN Guiding Principles, and now the first to review and update anexisting NAP, the UK has the opportunity to continue to show critical leadership on business and human rights.We have contributed to several of the consultations held by the Government and this submission is in additionto the views we have expressed in those sessions. In it, we address three key recommendations relating to: particular opportunities when the state “does business with business”, human rights reporting, and access to effective state-based remedy.

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Article
4 August 2015

Global Reporting Initiative submission

Author: Global Reporting Initiative

GRI’s submission consists of two main points:

I. Reflect recent policy developments related to corporate sustainability reporting

II. Update references to initiatives supported by Department for International Development (DFID)

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Article
4 August 2015

UNICEF submission

Author: UNICEF UK

[T]he updating of the NAP offers the Government the opportunity to use its leverage with businesses to scale up the practice of human rights due diligence. UNICEF UK strongly urges the Government to prioritise making human rights due diligence – which must include special attention to children’s rights – a requirement for those companies awarded significant public sector contracts and a condition of the Government’s support to UK businesses operating overseas...Priority should also be afforded to removing the barriers which prevent people whose human rights have been violated by UK-linked companies from accessing justice in UK courts, paying special attention to the specific challenges faced by children. UNICEF UK recommends that all action points made under Pillar Three (Access to Remedy) of the updated NAP feature an explicit guarantee to consider access to remedy for vulnerable groups including children...More widely, UNICEF UK encourages the Government to reflect in the updated NAP its full obligations regarding the impact of the business sector on children’s rights as set out in General Comment 16 of the Committee on the Rights of the Child...

See here for guide for a practical guide for States on how to implement the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child’s General Comment no. 16

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Article
31 July 2015

CORE submission

Author: CORE Coalition

The UK government can use the process of revising [its] action plan to respond to [a poll showing that 72% agreed with the statement that the next Government should make it a priority to promote ethical practices among businesses], leading by example through a more consistent approach across departments, and taking steps to level the playing field for companies, rewarding those who take human rights seriously and incentivising other to do better. The message that UK companies must respect internationally recognised human rights standards wherever they operate should be reiterated and clarified. When companies damage the UK's reputation by failing to oeprate to the highest standards, a robust regulatory response should follow. Finally, the new plan must properly address Pillar III of the UNGPs by detailing actions to enable people and communities harmed by UK company malpractice internationally to access to remedy in the UK when they are unable to do so in their own countries...

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Article
31 July 2015

Gender & Development Network submission

Author: Gender & Development Network

The review of the UK’s National Action Plan (NAP) for implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights...offers a critical opportunity for the UK Government to fully integrate and prioritise gender equality and women’s rights to reflect the prevailing context of gender inequality, which is largely missing from its current NAP. The NAP should serve as a framework to significantly strengthen policy coherence between government commitments on women’s rights, the business and human rights agenda, and its rapidly expanding focus on promoting the role of the private sector in development. Vitally, it would help ensure that the UK companies operating and sourcing from overseas, as well as the wider trade and investment environment, go beyond ‘do no harm’ to actively contribute towards the fulfilment of women’s human rights. This requires strong regulatory frameworks, combined with gender sensitive human rights due diligence, and steps to ensure the increased barriers women face in accessing justice are addressed.

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Article
31 July 2015

Landesa submission

Author: Landesa

The U.K. Government’s revision to the National Action Plan (NAP) offers an opportunity to ensure that investors are appropriately encouraged and supported to address human rights issues in their operations. The first version of the NAP identified a number of priority areas for consideration. Importantly, the earlier draft flagged land as a critical area for companies to consider when investing and pointed to the FAO’s Voluntary Guidelines on the Responsible Governance of Tenure, Forests, and Fisheries (VGGT) as key guidance. The update of this NAP holds potential for continuing to build on international attention and processes to develop guidance for corporate and government actors’ land activities. The comments below provide suggestions for improving the U.K. NAP to create guidance and actionable commitments to ensure that investors protect and respect land rights in their operations abroad.

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