EU directive on corporate due diligence: International humanitarian law must be upheld

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John Thys / AFP

30 August 2022. The proposal made by the European Union (EU) for a legislation on mandatory due diligence for companies doesn’t pay enough attention to the risks at play in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. Many EU-based businesses operate in conflict-affected and high-risk areas, they face a high risk of becoming involved in severe human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. The EU needs to ensure greater alignment of its policies with the UN Guiding Principles, which require states and companies to conduct heightened, conflict-sensitive due diligence when active in these areas.

On 30 August, the International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) and some of its members along with join organisations and academic professionals active in the field of business, conflict and human rights, signed and published a joint statement calling on states to explicitly include conflict sensitivity and international humanitarian law in the future EU directive on corporate sustainability due diligence. In the statement, the signatories welcome the European Commission’s Proposal, however, they identify a highly concerning gap in the draft directive: the absence of any provisions regarding conflict and responsible business conduct in conflict-affected and high-risk areas.

Read the Joint Statement below:

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  • Co-signatories

    List of signatories
    Academic professionals
    Prof. Dr. Jernej Letnar Černič, Professor of Constitutional Human Rights Law, New University, Faculty
    of Government and European Studies, Kranj/Ljubljana.
    Dr. Olena Uvarova, Associate Professor, Chair of the International BHR lab in Yaroslav Mudryi
    National Law University.
    Dr. Tara van Ho, Co-Director, Essex Business & Human Rights Project, University of Essex School of
    Law and Human Rights Centre.
    International organizations and regional networks
    Anti-Slavery International
    Amnesty International
    Business & Human Rights Resource Centre (BHRRC)
    European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights (ECCHR)
    European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ)
    Fair Finance International
    International Alert
    International Code of Conduct Association (ICoCA)
    International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH)
    International Service for Human Rights (ISHR)
    Search for Common Ground (SFCG)
    Women’s International League for Peace & Freedom (WILPF)
    National organizations and networks
    11.11.11, Belgium
    Acción Ecológica, Ecuador
    Al-Haq, Palestine
    Al-Marsad-Arab Centre for Human Rights in the Golan Heights
    ALTSEAN BURMA, Myanmar
    Association Marocaine pour les droits humains (AMDH)
    Austrian Chamber of Labour Brussels Office (AK Europa), Austria
    Centre for Research on Multinational Corporations (SOMO), the Netherlands
    Centre national de coopération au développement (CNCD-11.11.11), Belgium
    Centro de Políticas Públicas y Derechos Humanos, Perú
    Civil Society Institute, Armenia
    Colectivo de Abogados “José Alvear Restrepo” (CAJAR), Colombia
    Comisión Ecuménica de Derechos Humanos (CEDHU), Ecuador
    Covenants Watch, Taiwan
    Christian Aid Ireland, Ireland
    Facing Finance, Germany
    Global Legal Action Network, United Kingdom
    Heartland Initiative, United States
    Human Rights Movement "Bir Duino-Kyrgyzstan", Kyrgyzstan
    Justiça Global, Brazil
    Ligue Burundaise des droits de l’homme Iteka, Burundi
    PAX, the Netherlands
    Polish Institute for Human Rights and Business, Poland
    Swedwatch, Sweden
    Trócaire, Ireland
    Solsoc, Belgium
    Syrian Center for Media and Freedom of Expression (SCM), Syria
    The Human Rights Association (İnsan Hakları Derneği- İHD), Turkey
    Vietnam Committee on Human Rights (VCHR), Vietnam
    Vredesactie, Belgium

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