Trócaire has issued a press release in response to the Irish Government’s publication of its National Plan on Business and Human Rights, calling for effective and timely implementation of the plan. The charity made detailed contributions throughout the consultation on the national action plan.
Trócaire has welcomed today’s (15th Nov) launch of the National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights and has called on all Irish businesses operating overseas to sign up to the voluntary commitments to ensure respect for human rights in their activities.
The National Action Plan, launched by Minister Simon Coveney, calls for the promotion of responsible business practices at home and overseas by all Irish business enterprises in line with Ireland’s human rights commitment.
Trócaire has welcomed its publication, saying that unless companies make sure that they are trading responsibly, they risk being complicit in serious human rights abuses overseas. Adhering to the national action plan and taking human rights obligations seriously will help to ensure that Irish businesses pursue investment opportunities overseas safe in the knowledge that their operations are not profiting from the exploitation of local communities, the agency said.
Trócaire Executive Director Éamonn Meehan said:
“Globally two people are killed every week defending their land or access to water supply.
“Marginalised communities depend on natural resources to survive but they are all too often vulnerable to exploitation and intimidation by multinationals and political powers.
“Business enterprises of all sizes, from local companies to transnational corporations, can significantly impact the communities in which they operate. Human rights standards are not about restricting trade or investment, they are about ensuring that business does not either directly or indirectly perpetuate human rights abuses on vulnerable communities.
“For the Irish National Plan on business and human rights to have the desired impact, effective and timely implementation is key. Trócaire welcomes Minister Coveney’s pledge that the plan will not be allowed to gather dust on a shelf.
“Throughout the developing world, Trócaire supports communities and activists who face serious personal risks by defending their right to land and water. In countries such as Honduras and Guatemala, communities often come under physical attack from land owners and powerful business interests. In Honduras, for example, energy and mining companies regularly force people off their land, leaving them homeless and with no livelihoods.
“Those brave enough to stand up for the rights of these communities become targets themselves. Berta Cáceres, a Honduran human rights defender, paid the ultimate price when she was assassinated in her home on 3 March 2016.”