Statement by the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the
Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (ICC)
Human Rights Council,
14th Session, 1 June 2010
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary General on Human Rights and
Transnational Corporations Mr President,
The ICC commends the Special Representative’s report. The ICC also extends appreciation
for the valuable support, which the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights
continues to give to the Special Representative’s mandate. The ICC was pleased, yesterday, to welcome the Special Representative and High
Commissioner for Human Rights at the side event it hosted, in cooperation with the
Norwegian Permanent Mission and the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights,
on the role of national human rights institutions (NHRIs) in supporting business’ compliance
with human rights.
We also look forward to the Special Representative’s participation – alongside representatives th International of governments, civil society and business, as well as NHRIs - at the ICC’s 10Conference which will have the theme business and human rights., This conference will be
held in October in Edinburgh, Scotland. Mr President,
In his current report, the Special Representative alludes to the need to ensure that NHRIs’ mandates permit them to address business-related grievances.
The ICC strongly concurs with this observation.
The adequacy of an NHRI’s mandate, as provided for by its founding law, to deal with human
rights abuses for which corporations are responsible is one of high importance.
According to established principle, national human rights institutions should enjoy “as broad a
mandate as possible”, including with regard to their sphere of competence.
On this basis, and in line with the acceptance by the Human Rights Council of the Special
Representative’s reports to date, the ICC urges all actorsto interpret and extend existing
mandates wherever possible as applicable to the corporate as well as the public sector. We
would also urge, as a matter of priority, review and consideration of appropriate follow up
action where any NHRI’s mandate does not permit such interpretation. Mr President,
The Special Representative’s report draws attention to NHRIs’ capacity to provide access to
an effective remedy for victims of human rights abuses committed by corporations, under the
third pillar of his framework.
The ICC agrees with the Special Representative that this is one important dimension of NHRIs’ broader role in promoting compliance with, and enjoyment of, human rights in the
business sphere, which extends across all three pillars, embracing promotion of the state duty to protect and corporate responsibility to respect human rights, alongside access to remedies. We thus note with interest the Special Representative’s current feasibility study on
“international networked arrangements for mediation” as a route to enhanced dispute resolution in the business and human rights area, and we would welcome further engagement with that inquiry.
The ICC welcomes the Special Representative’s willingness to engage with NHRIs through the ICC and its Working Group on Business and Human Rights.
The ICC aims to build on this foundation, and to take an active part in the important discussions now underway regarding implementation of the three pillar framework and Guiding Principles, and the mechanisms that will be needed to support it - at international, regional, national, local and company levels.
NHRIs being key players in this regard is increasingly widely recognised. Accordingly, the ICC calls for a further strengthening of dialogue between the UN Special Representative and the ICC, its Working Group on Business and Human Rights, OHCHR, and all other interested parties in the coming months.
In addition, the ICC shares the Special Representative’s concern, noted in his report, that steps now be taken, as a matter of utmost priority, to equip OHCHR to perform advisory and capacity building functions relating to human rights in the business sector, in parallel with definition of the implementation framework, as that process progresses.
With such steps, Mr. President, we may together move closer towards addressing the grave challenges to human rights and sustainability – as highlighted last month at the Cochabamba
Summit in Bolivia - that we collectively face.
I thank you.