GENEVA (29 March 2019) – The United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights will undertake its first official country visit to Georgia from 3 to 12 April to assess efforts to identify, prevent and address adverse human rights impacts of business operations.
“The inclusion of a specific chapter on business and human rights in the 2018-20 Georgian Human Rights National Action Plan demonstrates the commitment of the Government to promote corporate respect for human rights. We look forward to learning about the concrete steps to develop a coherent policy framework and translate this commitment into reality,” said Mr. Surya Deva, Chairperson of the Working Group’s and member of the country visit delegation.
“We will pay special attention to the situation of individuals and communities who are particularly vulnerable to business-related human rights abuse, including in the context of natural resource extraction, large-scale construction and tourism projects,” Mr. Deva added.
The UN experts will look at current efforts of the Georgian Government and businesses to implement their respective human rights obligations and responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Guiding Principles provide an authoritative framework not only to identify, prevent and mitigate adverse human rights impacts of business activities, but also to provide victims access to effective remedies.
“We welcome the invitation from the Government to conduct this visit, which we hope will assist both the Government and companies to advance business respect for human rights in the country in line with international human rights law and standards,” said Ms Elżbieta Karska, Vice-Chairperson the Working Group and the other member of the delegation.
“In addition to engaging in a constructive dialogue with various Government ministries and agencies, 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,” she noted.
During their visit to Georgia, the experts will hold meetings in Tbilisi and in different locations of the Imereti region and the Autonomous Republic of Adjara.
At the end of their mission on Friday 12 April at 13:00, the experts will hold a press conference to present preliminary observations from their visit. It will be held at the Hotel Marriott Courtyard in Tbilisi. Access will be strictly limited to journalists.
The Working Group will present a full report of its findings and recommendations to the Human Rights Council in June 2020.
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.