Public Defender Addresses Prime Minister in Writing on Issues relating to Business and Human Rights
On July 17, 2020, the Public Defender once again responded to the business and human rights situation in Georgia and addressed the Prime Minister of Georgia in writing, considering the report prepared by the UN Working Groupon the issue ofhuman rights and transnational corporationsand other business enterprises.
In the letter, the Public Defender expressed her concern about the low rate of fulfillment of obligations under the human rights action plan, since according to information received from various agencies, despite a number of measures taken, no effective measures have been taken so far to perform a number of key tasks set out in the action plan on business and human rights. At the same time, in some cases, the non-fulfillment of tasks by the agencies is conditioned by the fact that the tasks go beyond their competences.
The Public Defender submitted the following opinions/recommendations to the Prime Minister for the purposes of the ongoing process of developing business and human rights activities, future strategies and government’s action plan:
- It is important for the relevant agencies to take action before the expiration of the term of the action plan
- In the process of developing a future plan, the working group should take into account that the current action plan does not fully cover all the issues referred to in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the National Baseline Study.
It should be noted that the document does not provide for effective measures to prevent human rights violations in terms of the obligation of the companies to effectively assess legal risks (due diligence) and only refers to the obligation to raise awareness (Task 25.1.27).
The Public Defender expresses readiness to be involved in the process of drafting the next action plan on business and human rights and to submit relevant recommendations/proposals to the interagency group working on national human rights strategy and government’s action plan.
The Public Defender’s Office continues to study the challenges in the field of business and human rights and to respond to them in accordance with legislation. Inter alia, at this stage, the Office is working on a special report, which reviews the effectiveness of legislation regulating the environmental impact assessment and its compliance with international standards.