Submission to Human Rights Committee on business and human rights in Ireland

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The Irish Centre for Human Rights has made a couple of submissions to the United Nations Human Rights Committee in advance of Ireland’s fourth periodic review. One of these addresses business and human rights, and highlights issues of concern in relation to Ireland’s compliance with the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights. Specific human rights concerns arising from company practices were raised in areas such as direct provision for asylum seekers, forced labour and technology exports. Here is the key excerpt from the brief submission:

The Irish Centre for Human Rights is concerned that the Irish Government has failed to take any steps advising business enterprises that operate in Ireland of their responsibility to respect human rights. The Irish Government has stated that its trade policy in the context of development will be “guided by” the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights, although it has not taken any measures to transform this policy statement into practice. No guidance has been provided to business enterprises in this context, and nor has the Government adopted an implementation plan for the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights. The Irish Centre for Human Rights believes that the recent observation of the Human Rights Committee in its Concluding Observations for Germany is of equal relevance to Ireland:

The State party is encouraged to set out clearly the expectation that all business enterprises domiciled in its territory and/or its jurisdiction respect human rights standards in accordance with the Covenant throughout their operations. It is also encouraged to take appropriate measures to strengthen the remedies provided to protect people who have been victims of activities of such business enterprises operating abroad.

The Human Rights Committee is urged to ask Ireland how it intends to make business enterprises aware of their responsibility to respect human rights and what measures the Government will undertake to ensure remedies for victims of business activities by Irish companies operating abroad.

The formal review takes place at the 111th session of the Human Rights Committee in Geneva next July. The full version of what is a short submission is available on the website of the Irish Centre for Human Rights.

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