The Irish Centre for Human Rights has published its response to the Working Outline of the national action plan on business and human rights prepared by the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade. The response touches on a number of key issues, including the legislative framework, access to remedies, State owned companies, implementation and public procurement. Here is an excerpt:
The Working Outline constitutes a detailed and far-ranging document, which reflects aspects of a number of the recommendations made in the previous submission of the Irish Centre for Human Rights. The Centre welcomes the firm acknowledgment that the State duty to protect human rights from harm by third parties, including business enterprises, is based on existing international human rights law. The Guiding Principles elaborate that this duty requires States to take “appropriate steps to prevent, investigate, punish and redress such abuse through effective policies, legislation, regulations and adjudication”. While the Working Outline acknowledges the role of regulation, legislation and adjudication, and commits to reviewing relevant laws and processes, the document overwhelmingly focuses on promoting business respect for human rights through dialogue, encouragement and information-sharing. While promotional activity is obviously relevant and important in certain respects, the effectiveness of such activity is enhanced if compliance with human rights is required or legally mandated in some manner.