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AWEPA Austria Section: Ensuring the respect for human rights in business

13 October 2015

Human Rights Generic_0

Vienna, Austria – The Austria AWEPA Section and the Netzwerk Soziale Verantwortung (Network for Social Responsibility, NeSoVe) organised a round table on the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and their transposition into national law, which was held in Vienna, Austria, on 13 October 2015.

The round table aimed to examine the implementation of these Guiding Principles in the Austrian context, and saw contributions from Mr. Jérôme Chaplier, Coordinator of the European Coalition for Corporate Justice (ECCJ) and French MEP Hon. Dominique Potier.

A comparative study of Austrian, German and Swiss law was presented by Ms. Marieta Kaufmann of NeSoVe. This study examined due diligence displayed by companies and board members regarding human rights in international activities, and made concrete proposals for human rights protection in Austrian civil law. On this subject, Hon. Petra Bayr, Chair of the AWEPA Section in the Austrian Parliament, underlined the urgency of making Austrian companies legally accountable for human rights violations.

Background information

The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were adopted by the United Nations in 2011. They set out the responsibility of business to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights as well as the state’s obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and  fundamental freedoms. It is the responsibility of the State to identify and eradicate loopholes in the implementation of the Guiding Principles in national jurisdiction.