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US Govt. holds final consultation for National Action Plan on business & human rights - submissions & commentary

President Obama announced in September 2014 that the US Government would develop a National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct, aiming "to promote and incentivize responsible business conduct, including with respect to transparency and anticorruption, consistent with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises".  The government has organised a series of consultations on the NAP, with the fourth and final one to take place on 16 April 2015 in Washington, DC.  Full agenda here.  (Earlier consultations were held in New York; Berkeley, California; and Norman, Oklahoma.)  It has also issued answers to Frequently Asked Questions about the NAP process.

International Corporate Accountability Roundtable

Initial submissions to the US Government are here; these were made in the first round of submissions, closing 15 January 2015.  Further information about the NAP process, as well as commentary and submissions to the US Government by Business & Human Rights Resource Centre and others are below.

All submissions are available in ICAR's website

 

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Article
10 September 2015

Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable submission to US Natl. Action Plan offers guidance on responsible procurement

Author: Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable & Prof. Robert Stumberg, Georgetown Univ. Law Center

[This submission provides] guidance to the U.S. government on embedding human rights protections in federal procurement policy within the existing authority of the Executive Branch.

The submission outlines how the U.S. NAP is ideally suited to kick-start a process of reform that is supported by existing Executive Branch authority to:

  1. Require transparency of government supply chains—the essential first step;
  2. Expand the scope of protection beyond trafficking (and forced labor) to include child labor, discrimination, illegal wages and hours, unsafe working conditions, and denial of fundamental freedoms;
  3. Require independent monitoring that is worker-centered and accountable to the government, not to producers who employ the social auditors; and
  4. Harmonize purchasing power in order to facilitate a common market for decent work and respect for human rights.

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Item
1 September 2015

Shift submission

Author: Shift

We welcomed the opportunity to contribute to a number of the stakeholder consultations held by the [US] Government as part of the NAP process. This submission builds on the views we have expressed in those sessions. It addresses four points that we believe are particularly important to the development of a robust NAP in the US context. Those are:1. The importance of considering the state duty to protect against business-related harms at home as well as abroad; 2. Human rights reporting and the critical role of corporate transparency as a driver of better performance and better dialogue; 3. Particular opportunities to advance respect for human rights when the state does business with business;4. The need for greater attention to state-based forms of remedy.

Download the full document here

Article
10 August 2015

Submission to US Natl. Action Plan on role of USAID in implementing UN Guiding Principles

Author: Accountability Counsel, Center for International Environmental Law (CIEL), Intl. Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR)

As one of the U.S. government’s primary vehicles for delivering bilateral development assistance and disaster relief, USAID has a tremendous impact on the human rights of some of the most vulnerable communities on the planet. This joint submission highlights several gaps in USAID’s current implementation of business and human rights frameworks and offers concrete recommendations for improvement.

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Item
5 May 2015

RightingFinance, Friends of the Earth & Global Witness submission on US Natl. Action Plan

Author: RightingFinance, Friends of the Earth & Global Witness

This submission is being made by RightingFinance, Friends of the Earth and Global Witness and will address the following topics: accountability of financial firms for human rights abuses, investment agreements and tax cooperation

Download the full document here

Item
27 April 2015

NGO submission for US Natl. Action Plan on project-level grievance mechanisms

Author: Accountability Counsel, Center for International Environmental Law, Friends of the Earth

"Submission for U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct regarding Project-Level Grievance Mechanisms", 24 Apr 2015

We write to offer this joint submission for the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct...and assist the U.S. government in its efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights...and the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises...As organizations that help communities harmed by business-related human rights abuses to bring complaints through non-judicial grievance mechanisms, we stress that the Guiding Principles and the OECD Guidelines articulate the critical role of these mechanisms in ensuring accountability for such abuses.

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Article
23 April 2015

NomoGaia calls for more stringent human rights standards for US govt. private security contractors in Natl. Action Plan

Author: Kendyl Salcito & Mark Wielga, NomoGaia, on Justmeans

"What Blackwater, Oklahoma, and the Extractive Sector Have in Common: U.S. National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights", 20 Apr 2015

The [penultimate US National Action Plan] consultation, held in Norman, Oklahoma, focused on private security as one of three primary issues of concern, alongside extractive industries and indigenous rights issues. While the State Department has taken steps to require its private security contractors to sign the International Code of Conduct and adhere to ICOCA standards, the commitment does not extend across government agencies. The Department of Defense, for example, does not require its defense contractors to belong to the ICOCA...The U.S. Government could publish the human rights due diligence of its own contractors, and it could encourage large multinational corporations to follow suit....

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Article
22 April 2015

Human Analytics Makes Recommendations for the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct

Author: Human Analytics

Human Analytics welcomed the chance to participate in the recent April 2 National Action Plan (NAP) consultation held at the University of Oklahoma in Norman, OK, which had as one focus security and human rights. Human Analytics is a consultancy specializing in helping public and private organizations, in particular private security providers, address human rights risks associated with operating in complex environments. We would like to offer the following recommendations related to the private security industry for consideration as the U.S. government proceeds with developing its NAP on responsible business conduct.

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Article
16 April 2015

Report on final US Natl. Action Plan consultation (Washington DC, 16 Apr 2015)

Author: International Corporate Responsibility Roundtable & Global Business Initiative on Human Rights

"Consultation on the U.S. National Action Plan on responsible business conduct", 16 April 2015

On September 24, 2014, President Obama announced plans to develop a U.S. National Action Plan (NAP) on responsible business conduct...The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI) were pleased to co-host the Washington, DC consultation on the U.S. NAP on April 16, 2015. The consultation, hosted as part of the U.S. government’s series of open dialogues...was the largest consultation to date with over 200 participants from approximately 15 different government agencies, 40 businesses, 40 civil society organizations, and 10 academic institutions.

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Article
16 April 2015

US Council for Intl. Business submission

Author: United States Council for International Business (USCIB)

"Initial Comments of the United States Council for International Business on the Proposed U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct", 7 Apr 2015

The United States Council for International Business (“USCIB”) appreciates the opportunity to submit these comments to the United States Government as part of the open consultation process on the proposed National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct...The USCIB offers the following high-level principles and proposals for the drafters of the U.S. NAP to consider to help find a “smart mix” of measures to achieve two goals: to help reduce the U.S. Government’s own role in causing or contributing to adverse human rights impacts and to provide guidance and support to businesses in their own efforts to respect human rights...

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Article
15 April 2015

Bringing rights home: Four reasons why the US must act to curb rights abuses by companies domestically, not just abroad

Author: Gregory Regaignon, North America Researcher & Research Director, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre

The US Government, led by the State Department, is preparing a National Action Plan on responsible business practice...a huge opportunity to address responsibility for companies’ impacts on society in a comprehensive way.  It could enable the government to build on its leadership on certain issues, through measures like requirements on responsible investing in Burma, Dodd-Frank Act provisions on conflict minerals and extractive industry revenue transparency... To date, the government has indicated that the plan will focus on US companies’ impacts abroad.  This focus is important... But focusing too narrowly on abuses “over there” suggests that there is no need to improve business conduct at home.  Sadly, this is far from true... None of this suggests that companies can’t be part of the solution to human rights concerns.  In fact, progress requires that companies take decisive action, as they have in a number of important cases... A National Action Plan that addresses impacts both in the US and abroad would go far toward fulfilling the US Government’s duty to protect human rights... If the government adopts a narrower plan that does not consider human rights impacts domestically, it will have missed an important opportunity that may not recur soon. [refers to Walmart, Wendy's, Kleiner Perkins, Facebook, Twitter]

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