FIDH advocates for the full recognition of economic, social and cultural rights (ESCR). FIDH conducts investigations on violations of ESCR, such as the right to housing and fundamental rights at work. As an active member of the International Coalition for the Optional Protocol to the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR), it mobilises its network to encourage States to ratify this text which enables victims to access a recourse mechanism at the UN level.

FIDH’s work on ESCR is closely linked to a reflection on the impacts of economic globalisation on human rights and the responsibilities of economic actors, in particular of business enterprises. Along with its member organisations, FIDH conducts case studies on the human rights impacts of business activities. At the international level, FIDH advocates for the recognition of the extra-territorial obligations of States, for greater corporate accountability and the rights of victims to remedy and reparation.

At the UN, FIDH closely followed the work of the Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises. At the European Union level, FIDH is a member of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice. FIDH recently published a practical guide outlining the main recourse mechanisms available to victims of corporate abuse.

It has also been cooperating over the past ten years with the retail group Carrefour with a view to improving working conditions in its supply chain. At the international level, it participates in the Advisory Board of the Global Social Compliance Programme (GSCP), which was created at the initiative of leading global retail companies with the objective of encouraging these companies to integrate the respect for human rights at work at all levels of their supply chain. FIDH also challenges companies in respect of their social and environmental responsibilities through its ethical investment fund, created in 2001, Libertés et Solidarité. FIDH has developed its own selection criteria for States and companies eligible to the fund. This fund, which supports FIDH’s activities, is also a way of sensitising companies and investors to human rights.

Finally, FIDH advocates for the EU and its member States to take their human rights obligations into account when they negotiate trade agreements with third countries, in particular through the realisation of human rights impact assessments.

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