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Italy: UN Working Group to assess impact of business operations on human rights and the environment

Italian

GENEVA (24 September) – The UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights will undertake its first official country visit to Italy from 27 September to 6 October to assess efforts to identify, prevent and address adverse impacts of business operations on human rights and the environment.

Italy is home to a range of small and medium-sized companies as well as major multinational companies in the agriculture, textile, retail, construction and infrastructure logistics sectors, as well as in the fashion industry.

“The Italian Government’s invitation is very timely as it coincides with the planned revision of the national action plan on business and human rights as well as the G20 Leaders’ Summit to be held in Rome on 30-31 October 2021. This demonstrates the commitment of the Government to promote corporate respect for human rights and we look forward to learning about the concrete steps taken or proposed to achieve this goal,” said Surya Deva, Chairperson of the Working Group visiting the country.

The Working Group will look at efforts of the Italian Government and businesses to implement their respective human rights obligations and responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

The Working Group will pay special attention to the situation of individuals and communities who are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses, including women, migrant workers and persons with disabilities, as well as to the environmental impact of business activities. The visit will include trips to Rome and the regions of Campania, Puglia, Basilicata, Lombardia and Toscana.

“In addition to engaging in a constructive dialogue with various Government ministries and local authorities, we will meet a range of civil society actors, human rights defenders and trade unions, as well as representatives of business enterprises and industry associations,” Deva noted.

At the end of the mission on Wednesday 6 October at 12:00 pm the Working Group will hold a press conference to present preliminary observations from the visit. It will be held at Istituto Luigi Sturzo. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.

The Working Group will present a full report of its findings and recommendations concerning this visit to the Human Rights Council in June 2022.

ENDS

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 current members are: Mr. Surya Deva (Chairperson), Ms. Elżbieta Karska (Vice-Chairperson), Mr. Githu Muigai, Mr. Dante Pesce, and Ms. Anita Ramasastry.

The Working Group is part of what is known as the Special Procedures of the Human Rights Council. Special Procedures, the largest body of independent experts in the UN Human Rights system, is the general name of the Council’s independent human rights monitoring mechanisms. The Working Group reports to the Human Rights Council and to the UN General Assembly. Special Procedures mandate-holders are independent human rights experts appointed by the Human Rights Council to address either specific country situations or thematic issues in all parts of the world. The experts are not UN staff and are independent from any government or organization. They serve in their individual capacity and do not receive a salary for their work.

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, unanimously endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 (resolution 17/4), provide the authoritative global standard for action to safeguard human rights in a business context, clarifying what is expected by governments and companies to prevent and address impacts on human rights arising from business activity.

UN Human Rights, country page – Italy

For additional information and media requests please contact the Working Group Secretariat:

In Italy (during the dates of the visit): tel. +41 794443781; email: federica.morvay@un.org

In Geneva: +41 22 9179815, email: federica.morvay@un.org

For media inquiries related to other UN independent experts please contact Jeremy Laurence, UN Human Rights – Media Unit jeremy.laurence@un.org

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