A wide number of communities and individuals are suffering abuses and violations of a range of human rights now as a result of business activity. At stake are labor rights and rights to land, livelihood, health, a clean environment and peaceful protest, evidenced particularly in cases of social conflict, criminalisation of protest related to business investments and killings of human rights defenders. Access to justice and remedy continues to be denied to communities in numerous countries.
The 2008 UN Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework and its 2011 Guiding Principles set out clearly that business impacts require a "smart mix" of policy responses that includes not only voluntary measures but also regulation. CIDSE and its member organisations believe that if the Framework and Principles are implemented effectively in this way, they could be a valuable tool for reducing the risk of human rights abuses. We are actively engaged in national debates on Business and Human Rights Action Plans in a number of European countries, and working with our partners to monitor and evaluate the situation on the ground.
At the same time, civil society and Church voices across the globe are demanding more effective responses. For our partners in countries around the world, new process opened in June 2014 towards an international legally binding instrument on business and human rights, if thoughtfully developed, would represent an important additional tool to support their struggles. CIDSE members believe there can be a mutually beneficial dynamic between what is happening at national and international levels.