WG HR Codevelopment & Migrations, Meeting of 21st June 2016 (10hAM to 12PM)
Room 2 CoE Palace Building
Draft programme for meeting of 21/6/2016 and approval of minute of the meeting of 19th April 2016.
Hugo's remark that he had requested an official translation of the Council of Ministers Recommendation from his Spanish Government and was informed : « No funds for multilateral questions ! »
A brief description of the activities since the last meeting
Meeting at the (Strasbourg? Europe House¹) about the corporate social responsibility of companies starting out from the film about the drama of Rana Plaza in Bangladesh.
Responsibility of the local business managements but also of the buyers organizations.
Presence of two French Members of Parliament : There is a current discussion about the due diligence of the French Parliament ; fear that the process will not be finished bedore the end of the legislative session and/or the implementation decrees will not be issued.
Meeting on this occasion with Amnesty International, the FIDH, the CCFD, Action against Hunger.
Project to draft a letter to the 47 ambassadors to the CoE asking them about the implementation of the Council of Ministers Recommendation
Check if the procedure is in line with normal practice
A question sent to the President of the Human Rights Committee, about this, has still not been answered.
Hugo has translated into Spanish the Council of Ministers Recommendation, himself, with the help of CoE specialists (a copy attached to the minutes)
also wrote an introduction (in Spanish, French and English, also attached)
had a meeting on Monday 13th June at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs & Cooperation in Madrid with Sr. Ignacio Aguirre de Cárcer, Senior Counsellor of the Council of Europe and the OSCE to whom he sent his translation and Sr Aguirre is issuing it to the managers of the 17 Spanish regional communities. Sr Aguirre told him that the content of the CM Recommendations will be sent to Spanish civil society (namely (sic) companies, investors, etc) by the Ministry of Commerce & Competitiveness ;
took the advice of Spain's Permanent Representation to make an excellent excursion to the Mont St Odile with the Strasbourg branch of the Club Vosgien on Sunday 19th June;
had an excellent meeting on monday 20th June with the Spanish Deputy Permanent Representative, Sr Federico de Torres, who declares he keeps close contact with Anna RURKA and who explained the differences of the relations of the member States with the EU as opposed to the CoE
Legislative proposals debated and adopted in the European Parliament are of cumpulsory enforcement in the national parliaments.
At the CoE only the judgements of the ECHR² and the conventions signed between the member States and the CoE are of cumpulsory enforcement.
The member States also generally ratify the conventions and Spain has ratified over 200.
Hugo forgot to ask about Spain's national action plans but he now as an excellent relationship with the two Spanish diplomats and will need to contact them again in the near future.
Mme Legouis' remark : the ambassadors are not necessarily appropriate contact persons. The multinationals have shareholders and possible it is through these shareholders that we must intervene ;
However, obligations are mandated by law and we must request member States to legislate to introduce these regulations. We must go beyond the recommendations and the NGOs and raise pressure on the States so they introduce legislation.
Other means of exerting pressure : Chambers of agriculture, professional associations, employers federations, professional trades unions.
« Publish What You Pay» : http://www.publishwhatyoupay.org/
Jean-Bernard Marie / CDDH : The CM Recommendation has been welcomed.
In september, there is a workshop organized by the Danish Human Rights Institute to monitor the recommendation in the Member States
It would be important to make contact³
The Committee of Ministers (CDDH) will organise a high-level seminar in June 2017 about the implementation of its recommendation.
Will the INGOs be invited ?
At least, represented by their President ?
Our January « side event » must be inserted between these two seminars. What will be its added value with respect to the seminars ?
There is no blocked access between the CDDH and civil society.
Contacts with M. Salas, Mme Helle, M. Philippe Bies to invite them to our January side event.
But are they the most relevant experts ?
Might they just want to come to project their public image ?
Corporate Social Responsibility, a presentation by Mme Alice Bordaçarre of the Association « Peuples solidaires » - ActionAid.
« Peuples solidaires » created in 1983, belongs to the INGO ActionAid
Advocacy activities, pressures on companies, complaints against business organizations, joint actions with other organizations, with the ILO.
The State is responsible for regulating the activities of companies.
The proposed French law on the « due diligence of parent companies and purchasing organizations » introduced in November 2013 after the Rana Plaza catastrophe ;
The CAC 40 (major French stock exchange) company lobby is against the adoption of such a law
Registration in the National Assembly agenda in January 2015
Immediate referral to a committee
February 2015 : a balanced compromise text
18/11/2015 : The Senate rejects the complete text
23/3/2016 The National Assembly revotes its own identical text and sends it back to the Senate for its second reading...…
the text still has not been introduced into the agenda of the Senate.
The Citizen Forum for CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility)
The Platform for CSR, launched on 17/6/2013 by the Prime Minister
The « Green Card » initiative launched by eight French MPs : a clear sign of a demand for compulsory due diligence.
In Switzerland, the cumpulsory report on « responsible multinational companies » domiciled in Switzerland is the result of a popular initiative backed exclusively by individual signatures. This initiative has come direct from civil society without backing from politicians.
The government will have to make a decision at federal level.
Then it must be adopted by the regional parliaments
And perhaps become the object of a national vote.
Intervention of Maître Thuan, a lawyer from the Strasbourg bar association, and recommended for contact by Anna RURKA, has founded an association with a female colleague in Washington called « Business Integrity ». He intervenes on behalf of indigenous peoples in North East Russia in territories with a very high diamond yield.
He does not believe in CSR, recommendations and fine declarations of intent, but only in litigation that can change things.
Countries like the UK, the USA and Canada are much more advanced in this fight.
He said : « In France, we are late but I have reason to hope that the law introduced in the French Parliament will be adopted. »
We should contact the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Peoples.
The EHCR : Obtain a decree limiting processes hazardous to health and safety.
Preparation of the Side Event for January 2017 : (to be completed)
Information on the side event state of progress
Invitations to be issued, task sharing
Examination of the recommendation proposed by the WG to the HR Committee and the Conference in January 2017 (not discussed)
Date of the next meeting of the WG : Tuesday 11th October (to be confirmed)
Other Business (None ?)
¹ The 25 Europe House delegations, spread across France, form an association whose aim is to : promote the creation of a European citizenship and build the Citizens' Europe. Does it exist in other countries ? If not, why not?
² ECHR European Court of Human Rights
³ Hugo has made contact with the Danish Institute in Denmark but has not yet located anyone who knows about this seminar.