More than 100 civil society groups, communities and academics working in the defense of human rights and interested in the issue of corporate responsibility in human rights, have prepared a report. Produced in a coordinated manner, the report is meant to provide input to the Working Group Business and Human Rights of the UN, within the framework of its official visit to Mexico, that was held from August 29 to September 7, 2016.
The objective of this report is to give an overview of the situation of business and human rights at the national level. Based on 68 cases, patterns of violations and abuses of human rights by the State and companies from different sectors, including energy, mining, construction, agribusiness, among others are documented. This information also allows us to glimpse the degree of implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the Mexican State and companies operating in the country.
Below there is the list of priority recommendations made in the report to the working group.
Priority recommendations from Civil Society Organizations to the Working Group
- 1. Recognize the human rights crisis in Mexico, the worrying lack of independence of all branches of the State from the business sector, the role of businesses regarding the human rights crisis, and their responsibility to address and remedy it; as well as the pressing need that the Mexican State facilitates and ensures other official visits both from the United Nations and the Inter-American System.
- 2. Recall and emphasize the duty of businesses and their supply chain, to respect human rights and the rule of law, the Constitution and international treaties, as well as administrative and judicial decisions that are imposed on them. This obligation includes the duty to implement all their activities with due diligence, respecting individual and collective human rights, including those of the people that demand accountability, and also includes the duty to have human rights policies accordingly to the Guiding Principles and international standards.
- 3. Stress to the State its obligation to ensure the integral and universal protection of human rights, including those related to land, territory and the environment, the enjoyment of which is being particularly affected by businesses’ current activities, as the report of organizations evidenced. In line with this, the State should assess the past, present and future negative impacts of economic policies in human rights, and modify the regulatory framework of all business sectors, to guarantee the respect of collective and individual human rights, including the respect to the land, territory and worldview that each culture has.
- 4. Highlight the urgency to tackle the lack of investigation and impunity of complaints regarding human rights violations linked to businesses, and to strengthen the effective inspection and sanction procedures of all the authorities in federal and state levels, specially to large-scale projects and extractive industries, to prevent future incidents with massive damages to human rights. Said processes should be independent, participatory, transparent and inclusive of all interested parties, especially for the possibly affected communities.
- 5. Emphasize as to ensure the effective and effective public participation in the determination and implementation of economic policies and its regulation, including granting of concessions, permits or operations licenses, exploitation, and construction, amongst others, with the purpose of preventing business activities from violating collective or individual human rights. In these processes, is crucial to include the diversity of organizations, peoples and communities, rural and urban, that exist in Mexico, and to incorporate transversally cultural diversity, without discrimination, segregation, coercion or repression both from the State’s Institutions or from businesses –legal and illegal-.
- 6. Ensure full access to justice for the victims of human rights violations caused by business activities, through judicial and non-judicial mechanisms, and adopting measures that guarantee the investigation and sanction of all the parties, and the enforcement of the sanctions and statements, repairing and remedying the affectations integrally.
- 7. Highlight the importance that the State and the businesses are obliged to respect collective rights of indigenous, tribal and afro-descendant peoples in all activities, and particularly as reflected in the documented cases, regarding extractive, large-scale, infrastructure and tourism projects, emphasizing in the need to respect the right to previous consultation and free, prior, informed consent, and the right of autonomy of indigenous peoples. For this matter, we request the Group to recommend the suspend all concessions and permissions granted on indigenous people’s territories, until their rights are guaranteed, accordingly to the Constitution and the international treaties ratified by Mexico.
- 8. Demand to the State and businesses to recognize and exalt publicly the importance of the people who collectively and individually defend human rights, and to refrain from directly or indirectly support any action of intervention, coercion, criminalization, threat or repression of individuals, collectives and/or communities’ processes. In that sense, highlight the importance of imposing sanctions to businesses and any person involved in them, including owners, partners, managers, employees and contractors, that retaliate or threaten human rights defenders, their families and/or legal representatives.
- 9. Guarantee the effective implementation of the Mechanism for the Protection of Human Rights Defenders and Journalists, strengthening the mechanism for the effective collective protection of communities and guaranteeing the sustainability of the Mechanism in the long term, granting it with administrative autonomy and urging government entities and businesses to collaborate with it.
- 10. Adopt effective and specific measures to protect human rights defenders, journalists and whistleblowers inside and outside businesses that could be in danger for participating in investigation processes for the administration of justice. Guarantee that families and legal representatives have access and consultation to records.
Download here the full report in Spanish.
Thanks to peaceportal.org for the translation reprinted above.