Turning a Blind Eye? Respecting Human Rights in Government Purchasing
The U.S. federal government is the largest single purchaser in the global economy, with annual procurement spending that totals between $350 and $500 billion. Like other mega-consumers, it procures through global supply chains that enable large-scale production of goods to varying specifications—all at the lowest possible cost—and often in countries where rule of law and respect for human rights is weak or nonexistent. As such, the U.S. government’s global supply chains are linked to a range of human rights violations.
The “Government Procurement Project” of the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) commissioned three experts—Robert Stumberg, Anita Ramasastry, and Meg Roggensack—to conduct an in-depth analysis into U.S. federal procurement across several sectors, including apparel, agriculture, electronics, mineral extraction, and logistical and security services.
The resulting report—Turning a Blind Eye? Respecting Human Rights in Government Purchasing—seeks to provide a preliminary road map of ways in which the procurement process can be used to leverage the U.S. government’s immense purchasing power to push government suppliers to respect human rights. The goals of the report are: (1) to strengthen implementation of existing procurement standards, including those outlined in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Right (UNGPs), to protect human rights and (2) to require suppliers to respect human rights through the same due diligence steps that are becoming the norm in the private sector. In addition to fulfilling international obligations, the fulfillment of these goals would bring U.S. federal procurement into alignment with existing U.S. labor, trade, investment, and assistance policies—all of which provide helpful precedents and models for the strengthening of procurement rules.
The report can be downloaded here or viewed below.
Should you have any questions about the report, please contact Sara Blackwell, ICAR’s Legal and Policy Associate, at sara@
National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights: A Toolkit for the Development, Implementation, and Review of State Commitments to Business and Human Rights Frameworks
The International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) proudly announce the launch of National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights: A Toolkit for the Development, Implementation, and Review of State Commitments to Business and Human Rights Frameworks. To download the full report, click here.
The “NAPs Toolkit” contained in the report is comprised of 3 main components: 1. The National Baseline Assessment (NBA) Template The NBA Template helps stakeholders conduct a baseline assessment, enabling a systematic evaluation of a State’s current implementation of business and human rights frameworks that is based on an inclusive and transparent process. To separately download the NBA Template, click here. 2. The National Action Plan (NAP) Guide The NAP Guide lays out a set of criteria to help design and plan a State’s process to develop its NAP, from beginning to end, as well as the scope, content, and priorities of the NAP. To separately download the NAP Guide, click here. 3. Monitoring and Review of NAPs This component provides directions for States on how to monitor and report on the effectiveness of their NAPs, through follow-up evaluation and review that involves all stakeholder groups. To separately download the Monitoring and Review of NAPs component, click here. Among other criteria, the NAPs Toolkit outlines the following 10 Criteria for NAPs on Business and Human Rights. To download the 10 Criteria, see below or click here.
In developing this report, ICAR and DIHR undertook a global program of consultation with approximately 280 representatives of governments, civil society, business, investors, academia, national human rights institutions, and regional and international organizations. Made possible through the support of a wide range of partner organizations, this consultation process aimed to gather views on the role and function of NAPs in advancing the protection of and respect for human rights in the context of business. Participants’ views fed heavily into the approach and content of the Toolkit, and both ICAR and DIHR extend sincere thanks to all those who contributed to the report. Should you have any questions about the Report or the Project, please contact Sara Blackwell, ICAR’s Legal and Policy Associate, at sara@
“The Third Pillar: Access to Judicial Remedies for Human Rights Violations by Transnational Business”
On December 4, 2013, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) CORE, and the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) launched “The Third Pillar: Access to Judicial Remedies for Human Rights Violations by Transnational Business.” The Report was researched and written by Professor Gwynne Skinner, Professor Robert McCorquodale, Professor Olivier De Schutter, and Andie Lambe, all international experts on business and human rights. The Report was launched in conjunction with the United Nations Second Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights. The Authors developed this Report by gathering information through a series of research consultations, as well as some independent research. The consultation participants included those in legal practice and non-governmental organizations (both lawyers and non-lawyers), legal academics, as well as senior retired judges and experienced consultants in this area. This Report shows that, two years from the universal endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, States are failing in their obligation to ensure access to effective judicial remedies to victims of human rights violations by businesses operating outside their territory. It identifies and analyzes the most significant barriers to effective judicial remedy in the United States, Canada, and Europe, setting out detailed recommendations for the actions States should take to address the issue.
English The report is available in English for download here.
Knowing and Showing: Using U.S. Securities Laws to Compel Human Rights Disclosure
On October 9, 2013, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) launched a landmark report entitled “Knowing and Showing: Using U.S. Securities Laws to Compel Human Rights Disclosure.” The Report, edited, reviewed and endorsed by Professor Cynthia A. Williams, argues that human rights are materially relevant to corporate securities reporting and encourages the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC) to guide businesses in reporting material human rights information in their periodic and proxy disclosure reports. The Report proposes a plan for implementing disclosure of material human rights information related to business activities, incorporating human rights due diligence standards at the global level to assess and identify material human rights risks and impacts and identifying two alternative and complementary actions that the SEC could take to clarify precisely how issuers should disclose material human rights information. See the full Report below, or click to download: “Knowing and Showing: Using U.S. Securities Laws to Compel Human Rights Disclosure” ↥Back to top
“Human Rights Due Diligence: the Role of States”
On December 3, 2012, in conjunction with the United Nations Annual Forum on Business and Human Rights, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (ICAR) along with the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) and the Canadian Network on Corporate Accountability (CNCA) launched the report below by International Experts on Business and Human Rights, entitled “Human Rights Due Diligence: the Role of States.” The International Experts commissioned include Professor Olivier De Schutter, Professor Anita Ramasastry, Mark B. Taylor and Robert C. Thompson. The Report builds off of a set of global Consultations with legal practitioners, academics and experts from around the world and examines how States are using their regulatory authority to mandate due diligence for human rights or areas akin to human rights, such as environmental protection and workplace health and safety. The Report seeks to establish the extent to which the legal systems of States already make use of due diligence to ensure that businesses respect established standards and to describe for policymakers a range of regulatory options they might use to take the next steps in ensuring businesses respect human rights. See remarks by our Keynote Speaker, Member of European Parliament Mr. Richard Howitt, here:
English Read the full report below, or download it here.
Spanish Read the Spanish translation of the report below, or download it here.
Lea la traducción al español del informe a continuación, o descargarlo desde aquí.
The executive summary is available in Portuguese, French, Spanish, and Russian on the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre website here.
ICAR Annual Meeting Reports
Each year in September, the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable (“ICAR”) hosts a closed meeting to discuss the current state of corporate accountability in the domestic and international arenas. The two-day event sets the stage for a united movement on these issues among leading civil society organizations from across the globe. Below, find summaries of each of ICAR’s Annual Meetings.
Available for download here.
Available for download here.
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Available for download here.