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A/HRC/44/43/Add.2: Visit to Honduras - Report of the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises


15 May 2020

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The Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises conducted a visit to Honduras from 19 to 28 August 2019.

The Working Group welcomed the commitment of the Government of Honduras to implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as a critical element for the protection of human rights and sustainable development that benefits all, and was encouraged by efforts in this regard. It expressed its concern, however, at the degree of implementation and the effectiveness of measures taken to address the root causes of social conflicts. It urged the Government to take urgent steps and to enact legislative and institutional reforms that would help to create an enabling environment for responsible business conduct.

The Working Group observed the absence of a robust regulatory and institutional framework to protect against business-related human rights abuses and to provide access to effective remedy, in a context in which development projects and investments appear to have outpaced the protection of people and the environment. It observed that the lack of accountability for harm caused by businesses is often compounded by attacks, harassment and intimidation against those who speak out against abuses and demand accountability for victims, which in turn have fuelled social conflicts and lack of trust in State institutions, with long-lasting negative repercussions on local communities, businesses and investors.

A root cause of most social conflicts is the systematic lack of transparency and meaningful participation of affected communities in decisions regarding development projects and the exploitation of natural resources, and in the energy and agribusiness sectors.

The Working Group advised business not to use compliance with weak or ineffective environmental or consultation regulations, and to project “socialization” as a means of engaging with communities. It urged the business community to engage in human rights due diligence and implementation of the Guiding Principles, alongside meaningful participation of rights holders as the key to sustainable business and the prevention of social conflict.

The Working Group warned that impunity and corruption have eroded confidence in public authorities and their ability to protect affected communities against business-related human rights abuses, particularly for those in most vulnerable situations, such as indigenous peoples and women workers. It added its voice to that of other stakeholders, including some business associations, expressing concern at the recent stepback in the fight against corruption, and the consequent negative repercussions on all actors in society and the State’s efforts to implement the Guiding Principles.

Issued By:

Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Delivered To:

the Human Rights Council at its 44th session