Business and Human Rights in Portugal

 

Start and End of the Project
1 June 2016 to 31 December 2020

Project Coordinator
Professor Isabel Cabrita

 

Research Team

Researcher Institucional Afiliation
 Isabel Cabrita CAPP-ISCSP
 Ana Romão CAPP-ISCSP
 Ana Paula Ferreira ISCSP

 

Summary

Since 2005, the United Nations (UN) has been discussing the scope of business´ human rights responsibilities and exploring ways for business enterprises to be accountable for the impact of their activities on these rights.

In June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (hereafter the UN Guiding Principles), presented to it by the Special Representative of the Secretary General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, Professor John Ruggie of Harvard University.

The UN Guiding Principles provide the global standard of practice that is now expected of all States and business with regard to business and human rights.

The UN Guiding Principles were developed to operationalize the UN "Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework proposed also by Professor John Ruggie to the UN Human Rights Council in 2008.

At the regional level, the EU has made a clear commitment to ensure the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles. The European Commission expects all European business enterprises to meet the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and has invited EU Member States to develop National Action Plans (NAPs) for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles (COM (2011) 681 final, 25.10.2011 – A renewed EU Strategy 2011-2014 for Corporate Social Responsibility).

Objectives

In this context the overall purpose of this project is to provide a comprehensive overview and analysis of the situation of the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Portugal. The study has five specific objectives namely:

  1. To analyze the legal framework on business and human rights in Portugal;
  2. To have an overview of the current perspectives of the Portuguese State and business enterprises and other stakeholders which might positively or negatively impact on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles;
  3. To examine  the environment of changes likely to take place over the next three plus years and how these may affect the situation of the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles in Portugal;
  4. To identify and gather data/information on the situation of  the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles in Portugal and contribute to inform the human rights monitoring reports to the Human Rights Committee and Committee on Social, Economic and Cultural Rights, Universal Periodic Review human rights reports and other relevant regional human rights reporting mechanisms  or civil society reports;
  5. To promote partnerships with government, business enterprises, civil society and organizations to share knowledge and build capacity and contribute to the making of appropriate strategic choices that improve the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles in Portugal.

Study Methods

First we will start by analysing comprehensively the publicly available information on business and human rights that already exists in Portugal.

Sources for this information include national and international business and human rights situation analysis; situation analyses conducted by/from other civil society organizations (e.g. local or international NGOs and media reports).

In addition to desk review of relevant documents, we will also launch a national survey on responsible business conduct and human rights and carry out stakeholder´s interviews.

 


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