ICC submission to Review of OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The ICC has today presented its views to the current review of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The OECD Guidelines are recommendations from governments to multinational enterprises on issues including labour rights, environmental management and corruption. In 2010, the OECD decided to embark on a review and updating of the Guidelines to reflect changing global conditions - and increasing social expectations on companies, around issues such as working conditions, environmental damage and human rights.
The ICC submission to this review highlights key areas in which the OECD Guidelines' protection for human rights need to be strengthened, including:
- adopting a definition of human rights in line with the main international human rights treaties and standards
- extending the scope of the Guidelines' to multinational enterprises' supply chains
- aligning with the ILO Decent Work Agenda.
The submission also highlights the need for the OECD Guidelines to recognise the role of national human rights institutions in home and host states of multinational enterprises, in increasing the effectiveness of the OECD Guidelines as a corporate responsiblity instrument.
For further information, contact Claire Methven O'Brien, Coordinator, ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights (cob[at]humanrights.dk).
Read the ICC submission here
NHRI Civil Society Consultation Statement
DIHR joins the National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) of Canada, Malaysia, Korea, New Zealand and Venezuela in highlighting the vital role of NHRIs in the business and human rights field. The statement was submitted as part of the civil society consultation process in relation to the mandate of John Ruggie, UN Special Representative to the Secretary-General on the issue of transnational corporations and human rights.
The statement calls on the Special Representative to recognize the centrality of NHRIs in business and human rights under all three pillars of the UN Framework, and highlights the ‘tipping point’ represented by the International Coordinating Committee of NHRI Conference in Edinburgh Oct 9-11.
'Two years ago NHRIs were debating issues such as mandate limitations and the priority that should be accorded to business and human rights,' the statement reads. 'The Edinburgh meeting, though, showed how far NHRIs have come in a relatively short time in acknowledging that despite the difference in our mandates and country contexts we are working on the impacts of corporate human rights abuses, particularly on vulnerable individuals and communities, in our work every day.’
For more information on the statement or input to the UN process, contact Claire O’Brien: COB [AT ] humanrights.dk.
Read the full statement
DIHR Welcomes Edinburgh Declaration
Human rights institutions from around the world have called for action on corporate abuse of human rights.
Representatives from more than 80 countries attending the 10th International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions in Edinburgh suggested concrete actions at the national level to reduce the negative impacts of globalization for vulnerable groups.
The Danish Institute for Human Rights hold the Chair of the Business and Human Rights Working Group OF THE International Coordinating Committee, and was part of the conference's organising committee. Representatives from DIHR, including the Human Rights and Business Department, participated in the conference. DIHR also organised a side event on the review of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The Edinburgh Declaration recognizes the key role of NHRIs in implementing human rights protection in the corporate sphere, and calls for NHRIs to be given adequate resources to this end. It also calls for more national and international monitoring of businesses’ compliance with human rights law and expresses a need for more clarity from companies, governments, campaigners and individuals regarding the human rights responsibilities of companies.
The conference included keynote speeches from Navi Pillay, United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Mary Robinson, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and PROF John Ruggie, special representative to the UN Secretary General on the issue of transnational corporations.
DIHR’s Claire O'Brien, coordinator of the ICC Working Group, said, ‘This conference has helped to crystallise NHRIs' collective awareness, understanding and readiness to implement their mandates in the field of business and human rights. NHRIs will be crucial to successful implementation of the Special Representative’s three-pillar framework and guiding principles.
Rosslyn Noonan, Chair of the International Coordinating Committee and Chair of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission, said, ‘We are at a tipping point. Successful businesses are crucial for development, but recognition and protection of human rights has not kept pace with the power and influence of globalised economies.’
Read the Edinburgh Declaration
Panel Discussion of OECD Guidelines Review
The International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs (ICC) Working Group on Business and Human Rights will host a panel event on the current review of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
Confirmed panellists include:
- Roel Nieuwenkamp, Chair of the Working Party, OECD Investment Committee
- Tricia Feeney, of RAID (Rights and Accountability in Development) and a founding member of OECD Watch
- Dr Judy McGregor, EEO Commissioner, New Zealand Human Rights Commission
The discussion will be chaired by Dr Jonas Christoffersen, Director of Danish Institute for Human Rights and Chair of the ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
The event is organised to stimulate discussion amongst NHRIs regarding the current Guidelines review and reflect on potential roles and opportunities for NHRIs within the Guidelines framework.
The panel will take place 9 October 2010, from 1:30-3 PM in the Scottish Parliament. The panel is held as a side event to the 10th ICC Biennial International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions.
International Conference of National Human Rights Institutions on Business and Human Rights
Human Rights and Business: The Role of NHRIs, the 10th Biennial Conference of the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions (ICC), will be held from 8-10 October 2010 in Edinburgh.
The conference, which will be hosted by the Scottish Human Rights Commission, and will take place in the Scottish Parliament, will explore potential roles for National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs), individually and collectively, with regard to the issue of business and human rights. NHRIs are uniquely placed to address the challenges in implementing business human rights responsibilities, especially at the national level where they can facilitate dialogue and collaboration among key stakeholders from business, government and civil society.
Keynote speakers at the 10th International Conference of NHRIs include:
- Deputy UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Kyung-Wha Kang
- UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, Prof. John Ruggie
- Mary Robinson, President, Realizing Rights: Ethical Globalization Initiative, former UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The conference will close with the adoption of a final declaration and will be followed up with a series of NHRI seminars on business and human rights across the four ICC regions: Africa, Americas, Asia Pacific and Europe.
The ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, chaired by the Danish Institute for Human Rights, will host a side event at the Conference, on Saturday 9 October, concerning the current review of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The side event will take the form of a panel discussion, with a focus on the human rights content of the OECD Guidelines, and the respective roles and need for coordination between National Contact Points and NHRIs.
An NGO forum coordinated by the International Commission of Jurists will be held on Thursday 7 October.
For further information regarding the ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, contact the coordinator, Claire Methven O’Brien: cob [AT] humanrights.dk.
UN Global Compact Self-Assessment
UN Global Compact Leaders Summit, 23 June 2010, New York.
The Global Compact Self Assessment Tool is being unveiled today at the UN Global Compact Leaders Summit in New York.
The Global Compact Self Assessment Tool is a free online tool that enables companies to measure their performance on the 10 Global Compact principles, covering human rights, labour, environment and anti-corruption.
‘This is the first Global Compact tool to offer companies this opportunity,’ said Allan Lerberg Jorgensen, an advisor at the Danish Institute for Human Rights and one of the developers behind the tool.
‘For many companies, especially smaller businesses, it can be difficult to know where to begin with the Global Compact,’ Jorgensen said. ‘Many companies ask themselves what the Global Compact principles actually mean in practice. This tool unpacks all 10 principles into checklists consisting of concrete questions and indicators. Companies can clearly see where their most important challenges are, and begin to address them.’
The tool is also intended to help Global Compact companies report on their CSR work through the mandatory Communication on Progress.
‘It’s well known that reporting on progress is challenging, even for the advanced companies,’ Jorgensen said. ‘Using the Global Compact Self Assessment Tool, companies can generate content directly for their Communication on Progress to show what they’re doing well and to demonstrate improvements over time.’
The Global Compact Self Assessment Tool has been developed by a partnership consisting of The Danish Ministry of Economic and Business Affairs, The Confederation of Danish Industry, The Danish Industrialisation Fund for Developing Countries, The Danish Institute for Human Rights and the UN Global Compact Secretariat. The tool has been tested by UN Global Compact networks in Bangladesh, Kenya and Vietnam.
The Global Compact Self Assessment Tool is freely available online athttp://www.globalcompactselfassessment.org/
(Link: Learn more about the UN Global Compact here:http://www.unglobalcompact.org/)
For more information, contact Allan Lerberg Jorgensen: ALJ [AT] humanrights.dk
Human Rights and the Financial Sector
June 1, 2010: The Danish Institute for Human Rights is pleased to announce the release of ‘Values Added: The Challenge of Integrating Human Rights in the Financial Sector.’ The report outlines the challenges and potential for integrating human rights concepts to the work of financial institutions.
The research was supported by the Swiss Federal Department of Foreign Affairs and was completed in 2009 as a feasibility study for developing an application of the Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA) tool to financial sector actors, as a first step toward including financial sector stakeholders in DIHR’s work in business and human rights. As part of the research, a broader analysis of financial actors, assets, ESG and SRI concepts and mainstream financial reasoning was undertaken, with a particular focus on financial actors' expectations and the challenges they face in defining and implementing social responsibility in their work. This analysis was enriched and supported by consultations with international and Danish stakeholders, to obtain a first-hand account of how they work and their assessment on how human rights can be further integrated into their work processes.
DIHR will be engaging with the financial sector in the coming months, seeking to expand its research focus on more specific areas of finance and to operationalise the findings of this first report into partnerships with actors from the sector.
Download the ‘Values Added: The Challenge of Integrating Human Rights in the Financial Sector.’ pdf
For further information, please contact Claire Methven O’Brien: cob [AT] humanrights.dk. .
Tool Launch: HRCA 2.0
The Danish Institute for Human Rights is pleased to launch version 2.0 of the Human Rights Compliance Assessment tool. From 2008-2009, the HRCA was fully updated and reprogrammed to incorporate new content, feedback from more than 60 company and institutional users around the world and developments in the business and human rights field.
HRCA 2.0 features include:
- Streamlined database of 195 questions with user-driven tailoring to company operations
- Country risk matching
- Automatic answering and 'comply or explain' function
- Company administration
- Fully exportable and editable reports and checklists
The new version of the HRCA can be accessed here.
The original version of the HRCA will be available until June 1, 2010.
For more information, contact Rita Roca: alj[at]humanrights.dk or +45 3269 8851
Read more about the HRCA
NHRI Working Group on Business and Human Rights
National Human Rights Institutions are independent, professional bodies established under the 1993 UN Paris Principles. Their primary function is to monitor their national government, including commenting on draft legislation and reporting on the domestic implementation of their home state’s human rights commitments. 110 countries have established NHRIs, with 60 maintaining an ‘A-level’ accreditation, meaning they meet the highest standards of independence and output.
As NHRIs have grown in number and influence, many have begun to undertake national and international human rights projects, both alone and with international partners.
Following an initiative led by the Danish Institute for Human Rights during 2008 and 2009, a thematic working group on the issue of business and human rights was established in August 2009 under the International Coordinating Committee of NHRIs. The purpose of the Working Group is to encourage collaboration between NHRIs and ensure that the issue of human rights and business is included in international frameworks.
In August 2009, DIHR was appointed chair and permanent secretariat of the NHRI Working Group on Business and Human Rights (WGBHR) for the 2009-2011 term. The Working Group is composed of nine voting members drawn from all world regions, including a representative of the ICC chair.
The regional members are:
- Africa: Kenya and Togo
- Americas: Nicaragua and Venezuela
- Asia-Pacific: Jordan and Korea
- Europe: Denmark and Scotland
The Working Group has the following mission:
‘The NHRI Working Group on Business and Human Rights facilitates collaboration among National Human Rights Institutions in relation to strategic planning, joint capacity building and agenda-setting in the field of business and human rights, in order to assist National Human Rights Institutions in promoting corporate respect and support for international human rights principles; and in strengthening human rights protection and remediation of abuses in the corporate sector in collaboration with all relevant stakeholders at the domestic, regional and international levels.’
The WGBHR is the first thematic working group under the ICC. The WGHRB aims to utilize the joint capacity of NHRIs in the human rights and business field, including a strong role in local processes as well as leveraging the formal standing of the ICC within the UN system.
As such, the WGHRB has been mandated by the ICC General Assembly to pursue activities within three mandate areas:
Mandate area I: Strategic Planning
The Working Group will facilitate the inclusion of business and human rights issues into NHRI baseline research and strategic planning, and provide a platform for regional and international collaboration on joint NHRI programmes.
Mandate area II: Capacity Building and Resource Sharing
The Working Group will facilitate development of NHRI staff in relation to business and human rights issues and provide a platform for the exchange of expertise and best practices, and for the joint development of tools and materials.
Mandate area III: Agenda Setting andOutreach
The Working Group will facilitate ICC and NHRI participation in key domestic, regional and international developments in the business and human rights field. This includes providing support for ICC and NHRI outreach to stakeholders including governments, UN bodies, multilateral institutions, the business community and civil society.
As chair and permanent secretariat of the Working Group, the Danish Institute for Human Rights will continue to convene meetings and disseminate information.
For more information, contact Claire O’Brian: COB [AT] humanrights.dk.