As part of its consultation on the development of a national plan on business and human rights, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade has invited submissions from interested parties. Several civil society and other organisations have prepared submissions, and I plan to do a roundup of those submissions over the coming weeks (please send me details of any you are aware of). The Irish Centre for Human Rights at NUI Galway, in its submission, highlights the need for a global approach to business and human rights:
In approaching its national action plan on business and human rights, the Irish Government should bear in mind that businesses in Ireland can impact the enjoyment of human rights both in Ireland, as well as overseas, through their global operations and investments. The national action plan on business and human rights represents an important opportunity to enhance the global vision espoused the Department of Foreign of Affairs and Trade.
Some of the key recommendations in the Centre’s submission are:
- The national plan should set out how the Irish Government seeks to ensure that State owned or controlled companies and those that receive support or services from the State respect human rights. Human rights compliance should be directly linked to the provision of support from Government Departments, and agencies such as Enterprise Ireland and IDA Ireland, as well as State investment, such as under the Ireland Strategic Investment Fund
- The Irish Government should address human rights in the context of procurement, and insist on human rights compliance by companies with which it contracts for products or services
- The national plan should clarify how the State duty to protect and the corporate responsibility to respect human rights are met in the context of trade and development
- The national plan should include a commitment to a comprehensive review of judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, and relevant legislation, in order to ensure access to an effective remedy and to identify and address any potential barriers
- The National Contact Point established under the OECD Guidelines on Multinational Enterprises should be strengthened
- The national action plan should include a commitment to constructive engagement by Ireland with the negotiations towards a binding business and human rights treaty
- The national action plan should include a commitment to conduct an assessment of the human rights impact of Irish tax practices and to supporting and implementing efforts to prevent global tax avoidance
The full submission from the Irish Centre for Human Rights is available here.