October’s Blog post features Hamida Idrissi, who is a policy expert active within the Federal Institute for Sustainable Development, a public service responsible for sustainable development within the Belgian federal government. She specializes in societal responsibility.
In 2011, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the "UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights". These guidelines for states and companies are based on three pillars:
- The state's obligation to protect human rights;
- The corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and
- Remedy for victims in case of violations, and access to effective remedies.
At the instigation of the European Commission and the Council of Europe, Belgium embarked on the development of a national action plan "Business and Human Rights". In doing so, it followed the lead of its neighbours and other European countries. In June 2017, the Belgian Governments adopted the first National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights (NAP).
The Belgian NAP contains 33 actions that aim to stimulate Belgian and international companies active in Belgium to respect and promote human rights not only in their own activities, but also within their sphere of influence. The content of our first NAP is mainly aimed at informing and raising the awareness of companies and organisations on the complex and often sensitive issues related to the respect and protection of human rights.
The importance of an international approach and framework to identify, prevent and mitigate human rights risks in business operations and relationships cannot be understated. This is linked to the 2030 Agenda and its Sustainable Development Goals, the ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy, and the OECD Guidelines.
To read the full blog, please visit the ESDN website.