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Bringing Human Rights into Fashion
Issues, challenges and underused potentials in the transnational garment industry

The transnational garment industry has the potential to be an engine for socio-economic development in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides ample employment opportunities, particularly for women, enabling – at least in theory – their economic empowerment. However, there is a persistent governance gap in the garment sector, resulting in serious human rights impacts, which chiefly affect women, who make up the majority of garment workers both in the formal and informal sector. This poor human rights record hinders sustainable development. This analysis by the German Institute for Human Rights seeks answers to the question of what contributes to and perpetuates the governance gaps in the global garment sector and what needs to be done to close them.

(PDF, 1,72 MB)

Author: Jan-Christian Niebank

Publisher: German Institute for Human Rights

Study

ISBN: 978-3-946499-40-4 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-3-946499-39-8 (Print)

78 Page Count

January 2019

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OEIGWG has come in from the cold. Will the EU do the same?
Position paper on the Zero Draft of a binding treaty presented by the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Companies and Other Business Enterprises

In July, the Open Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises, chaired by Ecuador, published the zero draft of the text of a treaty on business and human rights. This draft is the basis for negotiations in Geneva from 15–19 October 2018. The text represents a good first basis for further negotations among UN member states, and it goes some way toward closing protection gaps, especially in global supply chains. Helpfully, it builds on the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights and focuses on the most urgent areas in this field: the prevention of human rights abuses and access to effective remedy for victims. Rather than elevating corporations to direct subjects of international law, it bolsters the existing architecture of human rights protection: the state duty to protect, enforced by civil and criminal liability. These positive developments compared with earlier documents from the treaty process should be recognized by the UN member states and especially by the European Union. Further rounds of negotiations must now achieve the necessary precision, ironing out of contradicitons, and further development of the text.

(PDF, 180 KB)

Publisher: German Institute for Human Rights

Statement

10 Page Count

October 2018

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Die UN-Leitprinzipien als Grundlage für ein verbindliches UN-Abkommen zu Wirtschaft und Menschenrechten

Stellungnahme des Instituts zu den "Entwurfselementen für ein verbindliches Menschenrechtsabkommen" der Offenen Zwischenstaatlichen UN-Arbeitsgruppe zu Transnationalen Konzernen und Sonstigen Unternehmen.

(PDF, 119 KB, nicht barrierefrei)

Publisher: Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte

Statement

9 Page Count

March 2018

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Building on the UN Guiding Principles towards a Binding Instrument on Business and Human Rights

Comments on the 'Elements for the Draft Legally Binding Instrument' of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group on Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises.

(PDF, 410 KB, not barrier free)

Publisher: German Institute for Human Rights

Statement

7 Page Count

March 2018

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Analysis: Calculated Risk
Economic versus Human Rights Requirements of Corporate Risk Assessments

Human rights risk assessments help corporations to identify potential adverse effects of their business activities on human rights in order to avoid them, reduce them or compensate those affected. Corporations differ in their understanding of what constitutes a "risk": a corporate risk assessment is about potentially adverse effects on returns on investments or operations. This analysis outlines the different concepts of risk in a human rights and in a business context and illustrates the potential impact this discrepancy can have in practice by using the example of a corporate risk assessment in the Colombian coal sector. From this analysis the Institute derives criteria for possible self-regulatory action on the part of state and business, which can make a human rights risk assessment a mandatory requirement for enterprises.

(PDF, 712 KB)

Author: Deniz Utlu, Jan-Christian Niebank Herausgeber

Publisher: German Institute for Human Rights

ISBN: 9783946499060 (PDF)
ISBN: 9783946499053 (Print)

30 Page Count

November 2017

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Analysis: Calculated Risk
Economic versus Human Rights Requirements of Corporate Risk Assessments

Human rights risk assessments help corporations to identify potential adverse effects of their business activities on human rights in order to avoid them, reduce them or compensate those affected. Corporations differ in their understanding of what constitutes a "risk": a corporate risk assessment is about potentially adverse effects on returns on investments or operations. This analysis outlines the different concepts of risk in a human rights and in a business context and illustrates the potential impact this discrepancy can have in practice by using the example of a corporate risk assessment in the Colombian coal sector. From this analysis the Institute derives criteria for possible self-regulatory action on the part of state and business, which can make a human rights risk assessment a mandatory requirement for enterprises.

(PDF, 712 KB)

Author: Deniz Utlu, Jan-Christian Niebank Herausgeber

Publisher: German Institute for Human Rights

Study

ISBN: 9783946499060 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-3-946499-21-3 (Print)

30 Page Count

November 2017

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Analysis: Calculated Risk
Economic versus Human Rights Requirements of Corporate Risk Assessments

Human rights risk assessments help corporations to identify potential adverse effects of their business activities on human rights in order to avoid them, reduce them or compensate those affected. Corporations differ in their understanding of what constitutes a "risk": a corporate risk assessment is about potentially adverse effects on returns on investments or operations. This analysis outlines the different concepts of risk in a human rights and in a business context and illustrates the potential impact this discrepancy can have in practice by using the example of a corporate risk assessment in the Colombian coal sector. From this analysis the Institute derives criteria for possible self-regulatory action on the part of state and business, which can make a human rights risk assessment a mandatory requirement for enterprises.

(PDF, 712 KB)

Author: Deniz Utlu, Jan-Christian Niebank Herausgeber

Publisher: German Institute for Human Rights

Study

ISBN: 978-3-946499-18-3 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-3-946499-17-6 (Print)

30 Page Count

November 2017

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Information: Closing protection gaps in the human rights and business context
What transnational cooperation between the National Human Rights Institutions of Germany and Colombia has achieved

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) were developed to close the gap between transnational economic activities and the regulation of state duties and corporate responsibilities in the protection of human rights. The UNGP confirm that National Human Rights Institutions have an important role to play in implementing the principles. Their task is to provide guidance on human rights to States, business enterprises and other non-State actors. Transnational cooperation among National Human Rights Institutions can help to promote the implementation process. With this paper, the German Institute for Human Rights wants to share its experiences with international NHRI cooperation and provide food for thought about how other NHRIs might benefit from those experiences.

 (PDF, 62 KB)

Author: Gizem Kaya, Jan-Christian Niebank, Deniz Utlu

Publisher: German Institute for Human Rights

Information

ISSN: 2509-9493 (PDF)

6 Page Count

November 2017

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Analysis: Closing gaps in protection
Transnational cooperation on human rights: The case of the extractive sector in Colombia

As the German energy sector has close ties with the Columbian mining sector, human rights issues in Colombia’s mining regions need to be seen in a transnational context. This translates into diverse options for action and shared responsibilities on both ends of the coal supply chain with respect to the human rights impacts. As the constellation of actors involved is complex, it is not always obvious who bears precisely what sort of responsibility for what. Moreover, this complex constellation is itself embedded in a transnational economic structure. This allows gaps in human rights protection to open. This analysis reveals that new opportunities to take action are necessary. Transnational cooperation can help closing gaps in protection and provide more transparency.

(PDF, 2,5 MB)

URN: urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-55631-2

Author: Jan-Christian Niebank, Deniz Utlu

Publisher: German Institute for Human Rights

Study

ISBN: 9783946499183 (PDF)
ISBN: 9783946499176 (Print)

40 Page Count

October 2017

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Análisis: Superar los vacíos
Cooperación internacional en materia de derechos humanos en el sector de las materias primas en Colombia y Latinoamérica

As the German energy sector has close ties with the Columbian mining sector, human rights issues in Colombia’s mining regions need to be seen in a transnational context. This translates into diverse options for action and shared responsibilities on both ends of the coal supply chain with respect to the human rights impacts. As the constellation of actors involved is complex, it is not always obvious who bears precisely what sort of responsibility for what. Moreover, this complex constellation is itself embedded in a transnational economic structure. This allows gaps in human rights protection to open. This analysis reveals that new opportunities to take action are necessary. Transnational cooperation can help closing gaps in protection and provide more transparency.

(PDF, 2,55 MB)

URN: urn:nbn:de:0168-ssoar-55657-2

Author: Jan-Christian Niebank, Deniz Utlu

Publisher: Instituto Alemán de Derechos Humanos

Study

ISBN: 978-3-946499-12-1 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-3-946499-11-4 (Print)

40 Page Count

October 2017

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Business & Human Rights: Trans-national NHRI cooperation between Colombia and Germany

(PDF, 382 KB, not barrier free)

Author: Deniz Utlu, Jan-Christian Niebank

Other publications

March 2017

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Assessing Human Rights Risks and Impacts
Perspectives from corporate practice

This publication provides an insight into the corporate practice and experience of companies in assessing human rights risks and impacts. It is not a general guide, nor does it attempt to provide a comprehensive evaluation of the approaches in question. The examples and lessons learned are presented from the perspective of the companies concerned. They were selected with a view to providing an overview of several different approaches used by companies to assess human rights risks and impacts.
The examples describe only one element of the full range of human rights due diligence measures implemented by each company. They do not represent an endorsement of the overall performance of the company in question in the field of human rights.

(PDF, 612 KB)

Publisher: UN Global Compact and the Global Compact Network Germany, Twenty Fifty Ltd., German Institute for Human Rights

Other publications

46 Page Count

July 2016

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Menschenrechtliche Risiken und Auswirkungen ermitteln
Perspektiven aus der Unternehmenspraxis

Diese Broschüre erläutert die Anforderungen an menschenrechtliche Folgenabschätzungen und Risikoanalysen durch Unternehmen, welche sich aus den Leitprinzipien für Wirtschaft und Menschenrechte der Vereinten Nationen ergeben. Fünf Fallbeispiele bieten Einblicke in die unternehmerische Praxis und verdeutlichen die Möglichkeiten für Unternehmen, die Wahrung der Menschenrechte in ihren Tätigkeiten zu gewährleisten.

(PDF, 648 KB)

Publisher: Herausgeber: Deutsches Global Compact Netzwerk, Twenty Fifty Ltd., Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte

Other publications

44 Page Count

February 2016

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aktuell 08/2015: Germany's Accession to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank

The German Institute for Human Rights requests the German Parliament to postpone  the ratification of the accession to the Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB). The first proposal for the environmental and social standards of the AIIB, circulated in September 2015, as well as the consultation practice so far do not meet the human rights sophistication required of a multilateral development and investment bank; the information and disclosure policy has yet to be written. Germany’s Bundestag should seize the op-portunity of AIIB accession to create transparency and reporting requirements for Germany’s participation in the framework of multilateral organizations and to anchor the necessary pro¬cedures and instruments into national law for the first time.

(PDF, 75 KB)

Author: Andrea Kämpf

ISSN: 2190-9121 (PDF)

4 Page Count

January 2016

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Comments on the AIIB’s Draft Environmental and Social Framework dated 3rd August 2015

The Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank (AIIB) is scheduled to start operations January 1st 2016. Like "classic" development banks, the AIIB will dispose over Environmental and Social Standards, which are supposed to ensure that its financing doesn't cause or further environmental or social harm. AIIB's interim secretariat has opened a draft of the future environmental and social framework for consultation. The German Institute for Human Rights has contributed to this process with a submission.

(PDF, 535 KB, not barrier-free)

Publisher: Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte

Statement

8 Page Count

October 2015

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aktuell 3/2015: Sustainable Development Goals. An opportunity for the realisation of human rights in and by Germany

In September 2015, the Heads of State and Government of all UN Member States will gather in New York to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs). The SDGs are intended to result in sustain able advancements in economic, social and environmental issues. Unlike the Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the SDGs will apply to all countries equally. This means that the SDGs need to be implemented through German foreign and development policy, but also and especially in Germany itself, in policy areas such as education, poverty and employment. Which opportunities do the SDGs offer for politics and society in Germany? This issue of "aktuell" offers information on the current stage of the debate and makes proposals for how human rights can facilitate the SDG process and how the SDGs can in turn help realize human rights.

(PDF, 188 KB)

Author: Julia Kercher, Claudia Mahler

ISSN: 2190-9121 (PDF)

4 Page Count

June 2015

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Transnational Cooperation in Business and Human Rights. A model for analysing and managing NHRI networks

The paper presents the state of the art of cooperation among National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) within the area of business and human rights and highlights perspectives for further development. The results are drawn from consultations with NHRIs in Africa, Latin America, and Asia. In addition to providing practical guidance, the paper develops a model for a general network strategy adapted to the needs of NHRIs and dealing with transnational business and human rights issues. However, the model may also be used by civil society organizations.

Authors: Christopher Schuller, Deniz Utlu

Study

ISBN 978-3-945139-43-1 (PDF)
ISBN 978-3-945139-44-8 (Print)

44 p.

(PDF, 593 KB)

Study

December 2014

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Business and Human Rights – The Role of National Human Rights Institutions

This report presents developments in the business and human rights agenda with a focus on the specific role of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRI), it lays a focus on the Berlin Action Plan on Business and Human Rights. A stocktaking of worldwide NHRI action in this field is also included.

ISBN 978-3-942315-91-3 (PDF)

32 p.

(PDF, 360 KB, not barrier-free)

Documentation

August 2014

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Austerity and Human Rights in Europe - Perspectives and Viewpoints from Conferences in Brussels and Berlin 12 and 13 June 2013

The documentation of the conference organised by the German Institute for Human Rights and the European Network of National Human Rights Institutions (ENNHRI) on the 12th and 13th of June 2013 in Brussel and Berlin explores the cutbacks on civil, political, but also economic, social and cultural rights in Spain, Greece and Ireland, as a result of austerity measures being implemented. Through context specific analyses and expert discussions, the need for making these measures human rights conform and for promoting cooperation between European National Human Rights Organizations is made evident.

Authors: Des Hogan, Francisco Fernández Marugán, Alan Miller, Ingrid Müller, David Poyser, Deniz Utlu, Michael Windfuhr

Documentation

ISBN: 978-3-945139-00-4 (PDF)
ISBN: 978-3-945139-01-1 (Print)

36 p.

(PDF, 3,1 MB, not barrier-free)

April 2014

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A Model Human Rights Clause for the EU's International Trade Agreements

The study considers the implications of the Guiding Principles and how they might be implemented in practice. "States must protect against human rights abuse". Thus begins the first of the UN's Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted unanimously by the Human Rights Council in June 2011. The adoption of the Guiding Principles represents a moment of global consensus that states must shape their trade and economic policy in a way that consistently protects human rights. They must take appropriate steps to "prevent, investigate, punish and redress" human rights violations caused by economic activity. The Guiding Principles deal explicitly with international trade and investment agreements and make clear that states are expected to consistently fulfill their obligation to protect human rights across all these areas.

Author: Lorand Bartels

Study

ISBN 978-3-945139-02-8 (PDF)

44 p.

(PDF, 2 MB, not barrier-free)

Study

February 2014

Free Of Charge not available Download

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