Home Today's Paper Most Popular Video Gallery Photo Gallery
Subscription Blog Signin Register
Logo
Tuesday, October 16, 2018 12:28:25 AM
Follow Us On: Facebook Twitter Twitter Twitter Twitter

Five years from Rana Plaza: EU Commission needs to fulfil its promises

By
15th-May-2018       
Comments
Share your thought
Post a comment »
Read all () »

Heidi Hautala :
Over one thousand dead workers, thousands of them injured - and a huge shock. "Rana Plaza" was the worst of tragedies. It has been five years. It is finally time for the EU to adopt clear rules that require European companies to respect human rights in their global operations and that ensure access to remedy for those affected - to make sure that disasters like this never happen again. Today, Bangladesh is remembering those killed while sewing clothes for American and European brands. Also today, there are an estimated two million children harvesting in cocoa supply chains, in hazardous or slave-like conditions, a supply chain that ends up on our tables. Meanwhile, in Indonesia and Colombia villagers are resisting the appropriation of their lands for the production of palm oil, the substance without which our supermarkets' shelves would be almost empty. People at the front of these struggles are facing criminalization, harassment or even murder, as happened to the late environmental activist Berta Caceres and almost 200 other environmental defenders in 2017 alone.
For victims of these abuses obtaining justice is a chain of obstacle. We can look at the legal struggles undertaken by Nigerian villagers who lost their livelihoods and even their loved ones as a result of over five decades of negligent American and European-led oil exploitation. The villagers' judicial tours across the US, the UK and The Netherlands make a textbook case of how financial, procedural and legal barriers transform the right to access justice into a pipe-dream.
"Rana Plaza" is not an isolated incident. It is only one piece of the appalling problem that EU needs to resolve with determination and coherence: a responsibility that comes with our role as the second largest economy in the world. Yet, our current response to this challenge is far from satisfactory. The European Commission's response to the international outcry over "Rana Plaza" was a series of voluntary measures to enhance sustainability in garment value chains. Last year, the Parliament reacted calling for binding due diligence obligations.
The 2016 Conflict Minerals Regulation, although weaker than what the Parliament initially demanded, requires certain companies to conduct human rights due diligence in their supply chains. Large public interest or listed companies are also required to disclose human rights and environmental risks linked to their activities and operations, as a start to increasing transparency, and accountability.
These are timid positive steps, but we can see that a comprehensive, coherent approach is still missing. Different standards apply to different sectors, and the lack of legal certainty does not benefit communities, consumers, investors, or companies.
In light of the European Commission's inaction, some European States are starting to take the initiative. The "duty of vigilance" law adopted in 2017 has placed France at the vanguard of legal reforms strengthening accountability for companies' human rights and environmental impacts and access to justice for victims. Other European countries such as Switzerland and The Netherlands are taking steps in the same direction. States like Germany have also committed to assess legislative measures as part of their National Action Plans to implement the 2011 United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).
With the adoption of these laws, these States are in fact taking measures to legally implement the UNGPs and, especially, its cornerstone element of Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD). HRDD has a good potential as a preventive mechanism and as a means to enhance access to justice, something that benefits companies and society as a whole.
These developments also represent the acceptance by a growing number of States that voluntary and incentive-driven measures to ensure corporate respect for human rights are insufficient. Civil society as well as the European Parliament have stressed this point on a number of occasions. The European Commission seemed to acknowledge the same when coining the "smart-mix" approach in its 2011 Corporate Social Responsibility Strategy. This lesson seems now to have faded away. The EU Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, promised for 2016, is now long overdue.
It is high time the European Commission stops dragging its feet and present a legislative proposal to ensure the corporate respect for human rights and to establish binding human rights due diligence requirements for European companies, including access to justice avenues for victims.
Such a coherent framework would help to level the playing field, so that those business enterprises that today do their best to avoid infringing human rights are not forced to compete with those that don't look beyond their short-term economic profit. For the victims of "Rana Plaza", and for all the countless victims of corporate human rights abuses, empty phrases are worthless. We need action.
(Heidi Hautala (Finland), is Vice President of the European Parliament for the Greens/EFA political group. She is a member of EP Committees on Development and International Trade).

Tariff
Add Rate

News Archive

Inside The New Nation

Editorial »

Question paper leakage continues: Incompetence is everywhere


QUESTION paper leaks have become epidemic before all public exams, university admission tests, and job recruitment tests during the current administration allegedly by some students and unscrupulous teachers along with office staffs. Detectives in recent times busted dens of criminals involved in the question leakage but the unholy nexus between ...

Football »

US headed to Women's World Cup with 6-0 win over Jamaica


AP, Frisco :The U.S. women's national team breezed through CONCACAF qualifying to secure a spot in the World Cup next year in France.The Americans still have to face Canada."Just because we qualified for the World Cup doesn't mean we're going to take our foot off the gas," Alex Morgan said. ...

Cricket »

India ready to unleash 'fearless' Shaw, Pant on Australia


"Fearless" young batting stars Prithvi Shaw and Rishabh Pant will be India's special weapons during their upcoming tour of Australia, according to captain Virat Kohli.Hailing the roles of 18-year-old Shaw and 21-year-old Pant in the two-Test victory over the West Indies, Kohli said they had been given free rein to ...

International »

Saudi Arabia warns against any sanctions over missing Khashoggi case


Reuters, Washington :Saudi Arabia on Sunday warned against threats to punish it over last week's disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi, as European leaders piled on pressure and two more US executives scrapped plans to attend a Saudi investor conference.Khashoggi, a US resident and Washington Post columnist critical of Riyadh's policies, ...

International »

Prince Harry and wife Meghan expecting a baby


AFP, London :Prince Harry and his wife Meghan, the Duchess of Sussex, are expecting a baby in the spring of 2019, they announced on Monday as they began a Pacific tour."The Royal Highnesses the Duke and Duchess of Sussex are very pleased to announce that the Duchess of Sussex is ...

Entertainment »

Ranveer-Sara soak up the Swiss Sun with Rohit Shetty


Bollywood stars Ranveer Singh and Sara Ali Khan, who are in Switzerland to shoot for their upcoming action-drama Simmba, look all geared up for the weekend and their recent picture is a proof! Taking to her Instagram, Sara shared snaps from the set in which she can be seen posing ...

City »

BNP Standing Committee Member Amir Khasru Mahmud Chowdhury speaking at a rally organised by Nagorik Adhikar Andolon Forum at the Jatiya Press Club on Monday to meet its various demands including withdrawal of false cases filed against BNP Chief Begum Khaleda Zia and her son Tarique Rahman.


Editorial »

Take seriously the promise made to the editors


The Editors' Council will form a human chain in front of the National Press Club today (Monday) to press for amendments to nine sections of the Digital Security Act. Earlier, the Council postponed the same program following an assurance from three ministers including the information minister Hasanul Haq Inu that ...

Sports »

Marcelo Melo of Brazil (left) and his partner Lukasz Kubot of Poland bite their winning trophy as they pose for photographers after beating Jamie Murray of Britain and Bruno Shares of Brazil in the men's doubles final match of the Shanghai Masters tennis tournament at Qizhong Forest Sports City Tennis Center in Shanghai, China on Sunday.


International »

Trump explains `eligibility` for those who want to come to US


PTI, Washington :US President Donald Trump has said that he wants people with merit, who can help, to enter the country and not sneak inside the border illegally."I'm very tough at the borders. We've been very tough at the borders. People have to come into our country legally, not illegally. ...

International »

US wants ‘regime change’ in Iran: Rouhani


Reuters, Tehran :The United States is seeking "regime change" in Iran, President Hassan Rouhani said on Sunday, adding that the current US administration is the most hostile that the Islamic Republic has faced in its four decades.Tensions have increased between Iran and America after US President Donald Trump withdrew from ...

City »

Former adviser to the caretaker government Dr Hossain Zillur Rahman addressing a press conference on the occasion of 4th International Health Conference of People's Health organised by People's Health Movement- Bangladesh at VIP Lounge , Jatiya Press Club yesterday.


Entertainment »

Nadia in new telefilm


Entertainment Report :After returning country popular TV actress and model Nadia Ahmed has acted in a new telefilm titled Debor, which is based on a life-oriented story. Written by Barrister Mostaq Ahmed, the telefilm is directed by Sanjay Barua. The shooting of the telefilm has already been done in the ...

Editorial »

Mysterious disappearance of Saudi journalist Khashoggi


MYSTERY shrouds the disappearance of journalist Jamal Khashoggi when Turkish authorities didn't revoke their claim that he was killed inside the Saudi Consulate in Istanbul amid strong denials by the Saudi government. The Turkish newspaper "Sabah" yesterday reported that Khashoggi may have recorded his own death by his Apple Watch. ...

Sports »

Danielle Kang of the United States reacts on the 18th hole after finishing the third round of the LPGA KEB Hana Bank Championship at Sky72 Golf Club in Incheon, South Korea on Saturday.


.

 
Items that you save may be read at any time on your computer, iPad, iPhone or Android devices.
 
Are you new to our website? Do you have already an account at our website?
Create An Account Log in here
Email this news to a friend or like someone
Email:
Write a comment to this news