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18 Aug 2022

Ensuring a human-rights based approach for the EU Framework on Business and Human Rights

A recent ENNHRI submission provides NHRIs’ perspective on the European Union’s planned Framework on Business and Human Rights. The submission makes recommendations on how to ensure a human rights-based approach is reflected in the Framework, particularly concerning rightsholder participation. Furthermore, it recommends that the Framework’s measures should adhere and encourage adherence to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), both in and outside of the EU.

ENNHRI welcomes the development of the Framework, which will be an important tool in ensuring coherence between EU measures to address business-related human rights abuses. Among other things, ENNHRI recommends that the Framework:

  • Ensures the participation of rightsholders (within and beyond the EU) in developing relevant EU legislation and policy. Possible engagement methods include establishing a consultation group with rightsholders or integrating them into (existing) expert groups and advisory bodies.
  • Commits to reviewing regulatory initiatives that touch on business and human rights to ensure policy coherence, alongside assessing how EU businesses are fulfilling their responsibilities to respect human rights (the UNGPs).
  • Emphasises the connection between state and business, articulating states’ obligations when being an economic actor and committing to human rights due diligence. Topics to prioritise in this area include state-owned enterprises and public procurement.
  • Helps address barriers to people accessing remedy for business-related human rights abuses. This includes encouraging Member States to support rightsholders with advice on where to bring complaints, or creating a public fund to help victims of corporate human rights violations cover litigation costs.
  • Highlights the importance of NHRIs as key players in business and human rights and encourages Member States to support their work with adequate funding.

Further recommendations cover international policy and trade and development cooperation and support to non-EU states. The submission followed an EU External Action Service consultation with ENNHRI members. Read the full document here. Learn more about ENNHRI’s Business and Human Rights Working Group and previous submissions on the topic.