Declaration of the Committee of Ministers on the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights

(Adopted by the Committee of Ministers on 16 April 2014

at the 1197th meeting of the Ministers’ Deputies)

The Committee of Ministers of the Council of Europe,

1. Reaffirming its commitment to the protection of all human rights stated in the European Convention on Human Rights and the European Social Charter, including the revised European Social Charter;

2. Recalling the member States’ obligation to secure to everyone within their jurisdiction the rights and freedoms defined in the European Convention on Human Rights and to provide an effective remedy before a national authority for violation of those rights and freedoms, and their obligations arising, as relevant, from the European Social Charter, including the revised European Social Charter, and other European and international human rights instruments;

3. Recognising that business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights and that they may have an adverse impact on the enjoyment of human rights and contribute to their realisation;

4. Recognising the significant and continuous contribution of the United Nations to the protection and the promotion of human rights at the international level;

5. Considering the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework, welcomed by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 18 June 2008, and the United Nations “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” Framework, endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council on 16 June 2011 (“the UN Guiding Principles”);

6. Recalling the standards and activities in which the relationship between human rights and the role and responsibility of business enterprises has already been articulated in the Council of Europe and in other international fora and organisations;

7. Welcomes the UN Guiding Principles, which have been taken up by intergovernmental organisations, governments, business enterprises and civil society organisations, and recognises them as the current globally agreed baseline for its own work in the field of business and human rights;

8. Reaffirms its willingness to seek co-operation with the European Union and other international organisations, national human rights institutions, business and civil society in the dissemination and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles, at the European level and beyond;

9. Stresses that the effective implementation, both by States and business enterprises, of the UN Guiding Principles is essential to ensure respect for human rights in the business context, and expresses its willingness to contribute to their effective implementation at the European level, by identifying and analysing specific gaps and proposing appropriate solutions;

10. Expresses its strong support for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles by member States and, to this end, calls on them to:

a. take appropriate steps to protect against human rights abuses by business enterprises;

b. formulate and implement policies and measures to promote that all business enterprises respect human rights throughout their operations, within and beyond their national jurisdictions;

c. take appropriate steps to ensure that when such abuses occur within their territory and/or jurisdiction those affected have access to effective remedy;

d. develop national action plans on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.



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