Mexico's Forum 'Human Rights Due Diligence and Reparation in the Context of Corporate Activities' explored improving business conduct
Mexico hosted a landmark forum last week to discuss how best to implement human rights due diligence in order to improve business practice on human rights.
The event in Mexico City on 12 and 13 March convened policy-makers, civil society groups, businesses, and affected communities to explore how to better protect vulnerable people from corporate abuse.
In a packed conference room attendees - including members of the Ministry of the Interior and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs - discussed how human rights due diligence could prevent business-linked abuses and safeguard human rights, covering international standards, private sector initiatives to implement the UN Guiding Principles, climate change, legal and non-judicial reparations mechanisms, and challenges, opportunities, and advances in due diligence in Latin America.
The forum was organised by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) in Mexico, the Organization for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD), the European Union, the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC), Oxfam, Project Poder, the Institute of Human Rights and Business of the University of Monterrey, and the Focal Group of Civil Society on Business and Human Rights.
Quotes from attendees:
“[Since the bursting of the dam] the water is polluted, the fields don’t produce, life doesn’t return, the only thing that Brumadinho can offer to the world is the creation of international standards so this doesn’t happen again.” - Marina Oliveira, survivor of Brumadinho dam disaster, Brazil
“We make the respect of human dignity reality. We are all part of this nation, all sectors need to be in continual dialogue.” - Martha Pérez, representative of the communities in Atenco affected by an airport project, Mexico
“Business can no longer be carried out as it used to be. The global tendency is changing and we need to incorporate it into the region. Climate urgency demands that we put this into place immediately. The Latin American context makes mandatory due diligence in human rights for all companies necessary.” - Fernanda Hopenhaym, Project Poder, a forum organiser and part of the Focal Group of Civil Society on Business and Human Rights
“The forum revealed the government's interest in moving forward public policy in terms of due diligence.” - Marie Bouchard, OECD
“We are convinced that a responsible company, a company committed to the communities and to the guiding principles, is a competitive company. We all coincide in the need for transparency and the fight against impunity.” - Leonor Quiroz, Coordinating Business Council (CCE)
“The lack of capacity in terms of due diligence and continual improvement are some of the biggest challenges for the business sector.” - Carlos Busquets, Responsible Business Alliance
“Effective remediation is at the heart of the guiding principles, meaning that legislative efforts in the topic of due diligence must include this aspect.” - Daniel Berezowsky, Shift Project
REBECA NUÑOZ – Representative of El Salto community, affected by pollution of the Santiago River, Mexico
DANTE PESCE – UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
JOSÉ LUIS CALDERÓN – Mexico's Ministry of the Interior
MARIE BOUCHARD – OECD
For more context on Mexico's discussion towards the first first human rights due diligence framework in Latin America, read Soledad García Muñoz and Phil Bloomer's blog piece.