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UN experts raise concerns over Swiss Government's position on 'Responsible Business Initiative'

"UN experts raise concerns over Swiss ‘responsible business’ initiative", 1 Oct 2019

"We are concerned to read that the Federal Council [the government] has expressed a preference for voluntary commitments" by multinationals regarding their human rights responsibilities for their supply chains, a rapporteur at the UN Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights declared...

Switzerland was defending its record before 18 independent experts from the Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (CESCR), which monitors states’ commitments to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights...

[T]he head of the Swiss delegation, Valérie Berset Bircher, said discussions on a possible counter-proposal for the responsible business initiative were continuing in parliament...

Switzerland’s parliament remains at logger-heads on how to hold companies accountable for their overseas operations...

Action plans on links between business and human rights and corporate responsibility are due to be revised by the end of the year. In August, the government asked companies to submit a report on the human rights impact of their activities. But the executive body refuses any additional responsibility from these actors beyond the regulations in force.

Swiss officials were questioned for several hours on Tuesday about their report to the CESR, which was submitted three years late...

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