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UN expert group welcomes US plan on responsible business and calls for an inclusive process

GENEVA (1 October 2014) – A group of United Nations experts applauded the announcement by President Barack Obama that the United States will develop a national action plan to promote responsible and transparent business conduct, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights*, and called for an all-inclusive approach.

“The process of developing a national action plan should be comprehensive, ensuring that the voices of all relevant parties, including that of victims of human rights abuses, are heard and accounted for,” said human rights expert Michael Addo, who currently heads the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

Relevant non-governmental stakeholders include national human rights institutions, human rights defenders, civil society organizations, business enterprises, business and professional associations, trade unions and academia.

“In embarking on a national plan, the United States joins company with a growing number of countries across the world and acts on a key recommendation from our official visit to the country,” Mr. Addo said.

“The hard work begins now to ensure that this plan helps prevent future business-related harm and provides for effective remedy for victims,” he said.

“The Working Group stands ready to provide advice and encourage a plan formulated on the basis of inclusive multi-stakeholder dialogue that improves business activities both at home and abroad.”

The Working Group is promoting the development of national action plans to advance the business and human rights agenda worldwide. On 27 October 2014, it will present a report on this subject to the UN General Assembly and it will launch guidance on national action plans at the annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva from 1 to 3 December 2014.

(*) The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/Tools.aspx

The Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises was established by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011. Its five members are: Michael Addo (current Chairperson-Rapporteur), Ms. Margaret Jungk (Vice Chair), Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga, Ms. Alexandra Guáqueta and Mr. Puvan Selvanathan. The Working Group is independent from any government or organization. It reports to the Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly. For more information visit: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/WGHRandtransnationalcorporationsandotherbusiness.aspx

Read the Working Group’s report on its visit to the USA, presented to the UN Human Rights Council in June 2014 (A/HRC/26/25/Add.4):

Read the Working Group’s report to the GA on national action plans, due to be presented to the UN General Assembly on 27 October 2014 (A/69/263):

Learn more about national action plans on business and human rights: http://www.ohchr.org/EN/Issues/Business/Pages/NationalActionPlans.aspx

For additional information and media requests, please contact Ulrik Halsteen: +41 22 917 9323 / wg-business@ohchr.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts:
Xabier Celaya, UN Human Rights – Media Unit (+ 41 22 917 9383 / xcelaya@ohchr.org)

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