Bärbel Kofler, Federal Government Commissioner for Human Rights Policy and Humanitarian Aid at the Federal Foreign Office, issued the following statement today (21 December):
Just over two years on from the first plenary with over 140 participants, the Cabinet today adopted the National Action Plan for Business and Human Rights. The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights unanimously adopted by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 provided the starting-point.
With the National Action Plan, the Federal Government voices the expectation that companies will comply with human rights due diligence obligations and emphasises its readiness to support companies in this endeavour. The key elements of the National Action Plan are:
– companies are to make a declaration of principle regarding respect for human rights;
– a procedure for identifying real and potential negative effects of corporate activity on human rights is to be established;
– measures are to be taken to ward off potential negative effects and the efficacy of these measures is to be monitored;
– companies’ reporting abilities are to be improved;
– a complaints mechanism is to be set up.
The National Action Plan is a first step. The priority now is to formulate more precise expectations and show companies how they can fulfil these expectations. The run‑up to the National Action Plan was not always easy.
There is tremendous global interest in how Germany tackles this issue. I hope that our National Action Plan will also help all stakeholders around the world to arrive at a shared understanding of due diligence, as described in the UN Guiding Principles.