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UN Expert Warns Unclear Government and Business Responsibilities Threaten Human Rights

By B.KHASH-ERDENE

The UN expert Working Group on Human Rights and Business on Wednesday, October 17 welcomed the inclusion of human rights in the new Government’s action plan. However, the group called on the Government of Mongolia and businesses to further clarify their respective roles and responsibilities toward human rights.
The Working Group also called on the Government to strengthen the enforcement of laws in order to ensure greater accountability and compliance by business enterprises, and access to effective remedies for those affected. The Working Group called on companies, across all sectors, to ensure that they meet corporate responsibility standards in respect to human rights through compliance with national laws and regulations and international standards on the environment, human rights, occupational safety and labour.
Without more clarity on their respective roles, “companies and government will continue to point fingers at each other ‘to do something’, obscuring who exactly has responsibilities for what, and human rights risks falling in the gap in-between,” said Margaret Jungk, member of the UN Working Group at the end of the first official country visit.
The Working Group has been given the task from the UN Human Rights Council to support efforts to prevent and address adverse impacts on human rights arising from business activities, using the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights unanimously endorsed by the Human Rights Council in 2011.
A number of draft and recently adopted laws were referred to by Ms. Jungk that could strengthen the Government’s role in preventing and addressing the adverse impacts of business activities. These laws include the Law on Environmental Impact Assessments, the Conflict of Interest Law, the Procurement Law, as well as proposed revisions of the Labour Law. She encouraged the Government to ensure that these draft laws follow international best practices guidelines in incorporating human rights standards.
The member of the Expert Working Group made a statement which she felt echoed suggestions of stakeholders by urging the Government “to prioritize the strengthening of human resources and technical capacity of state entities charged with the monitoring and enforcing laws regulating business activity.”
During her ten-day visit to Mongolia, Ms. Jungk held meetings with senior Government officials at the national and local level, business representatives, trade unions, the National Human Rights Commission, civil society organisations, individuals from impacted communities and other stakeholders, and visited Tsogtsetsii and Khanbogd soums in Ömnögovi aimag.
The findings and lessons learned from the country visit to Mongolia will be discussed at the Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva on December 4-5, 2012. A comprehensive report containing conclusions and recommendations will be presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2013.

Short URL: http://ubpost.mongolnews.mn/?p=1559

Posted by on Oct 19 2012. Filed under Business & Economics. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can leave a response or trackback to this entry

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