Appendix to the reply
to the Parliamentary Assembly
Comments of the Steering Committee
on Human Rights (CDDH)
The CDDH takes note with interest
of the Parliamentary Assembly’s Recommendation 2166 (2019)
on “Human rights and Business – What follow-up to Committee
of Ministers’ Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)3
?”. The CDDH finds the text of the Assembly very timely,
since the Committee of Ministers is expected to review the implementation
of its Recommendation to member States on Human Rights and Business
) during the present biennium. At this stage, and as
a preliminary response to the recommendations put forward by the
Assembly, the CDDH would like to inform on the following concerning
the various paragraphs of the Assembly’s text:
Paragraph 1.1 of the Assembly’s
is available in three languages, English, French and
Polish on the CDDH website.
Other Council of Europe activities aimed at raising awareness
on and promoting this text include the HELP Course on Business and
Human Rights which introduces participants to the relevant existing international
legal framework and explores the applicable case law of the European
Court of Human Rights.
i The Course
has been launched in Albania, France, Italy, Ireland and Serbia
and is currently in the process of being updated and re-designed.
A page in the HELP Online Platform
also been created where member States can register their relevant
representatives or interlocutors in order to upload information
or engage with other users regarding issues of human rights and
In addition, a Handbook for Legal Practitioners was published
i This introduces the regional
and international standards and mechanisms relevant to addressing business
and human rights issues in Europe.
ii It is intended to serve as a resource for legal practitioners,
and others, across government, business, civil society, the media
and in independent bodies, such as ombudsmen and national human
The CDDH will be invited to
discuss at its upcoming 93rd meeting
(9-12 June 2020), on the basis of proposals by the Secretariat,
questions related to the scope, process, stakeholders’ participation
and timeframe of the examination of the implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)3
as required under this recommendation. The CDDH’s
for Human Rights and Business (hereinafter
the Platform, see also paragraph 8 below) provides a good basis
for preparatory reflections and related discussions.
The CDDH’s discussion mentioned
in the previous paragraph may address, inter
, the desirability and feasibility of conducting
reviews of the implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)3
The CDDH welcomes the support
for its work on human rights and business. It underlines the need
to reinforce its human resources available to enable to carry out
its work, notably the examination of the implementation of CM/Rec(2016)3
and ensuring the continuous operations of the Platform.
The Platform was published
on 27 November 2019.
contained on its public pages includes links to relevant standards
and guidance in the field of business and human rights at the level
of the UN, Council of Europe, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation
and Development (OECD), and the International Labour Organisation
ii Also, an index of the published National Action Plans
on Business and Human Rights is available and searchable by State.
CDDH members have also provided information regarding
actions taken to implement CM/Rec(2016)3
; this information is searchable by State or by pillar
of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.
iv The Platform features information covering 21 States,
19 National Action Plans and 30 selected practices.
The CDDH continues to contribute to update the Platform
with information. A compilation of replies by member States on a
questionnaire regarding the implementation of CM/Rec(2019)6
is available in the document CDDH(2016)06.
vi The Platform is intended to serve as a continually updated
resource. States and National Human Rights Institutions are still
encouraged to submit responses to the questionnaire and to contribute implementation
practices and relevant information to the Platform.
At present 19 member States
have published a National Action Plan, with two more in the process
of developing a plan. All of these are featured in the Platform.
The CDDH discussions that will take place in the context of examining
the implementation of CM/Rec(2016)3
(see paragraph 5 above) may create opportunities for
encouraging remaining States to develop national action plans, and
those States that have already adopted such plans, to share their
expertise and experience and support other members in drafting national
The CDDH Secretariat has engaged
in co-operation with other international organisations and will continue
to do so.
The Secretariat co-organised
with the European Union External Action Service
(EEAS) at the 2019 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, on 27
November 2019 in Geneva.
ii The session “Strengthening regional races to the top
on business and human rights: the role of regional organisations”
featured a panel comprising officials from the Council of Europe,
African Union, European Union, and the Belgian and Finnish Governments.
iii The Secretariat attended in a speaking capacity the Business
& Human Rights Peer Learning Meeting (Brussels, 23 May 2019),
organised by the Belgian Government.
Additionally, it contributed to a perspectives
which was published in connection with the conference
“Business and Human Rights: Towards a Common Agenda for Action”
organised by the Finnish Presidency of the Council of the European
Union (Brussels, 2 December 2019). The perspectives paper underlined, inter alia
, the complementarity
of action between the Council of Europe and the EU in ensuring the
implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human
Rights throughout the European region.
v The Secretariat also maintains regular contact with counterparts
at the UN, EU and OECD, and welcomes further and more sustained
collaboration. A representative from the European Union Agency for
Fundamental Rights (FRA) is envisioned to attend the next working
group meeting for the update of the HELP online course on Human
Rights and Business.
vi The CDDH Secretariat remains open to co-operate and collaborate
with counterparts in other international organisations and will
seek to ensure our work is complementary and mutually supportive.
The Secretariat follows the
outcomes of relevant processes in the open-ended intergovernmental working
group (OEIGWG) on transnational corporations and other business
enterprises with respect to human rights and takes them into account,
as appropriate, into its work. The relevance of the Council of Europe’s participation
in the OEIGWG may be considered in the context of reflections and
discussions regarding the examination of the implementation of CM/Rec(2016)3
(see paragraph 5 above).
The CDDH process of examination
of the implementation of Recommendation CM/Rec(2016)3
(see paragraph 5 above) may provide an opportunity to
consider and assess the desirability and/or feasibility of revising