Reacting to reports that proposed EU business legislation will exempt companies from addressing the human rights risks linked to how their products are used, including arms, tools of torture or surveillance equipment, Amnesty International’s Policy Advisor on Business and Human Rights Hannah Storey said:
“This exemption would represent a dangerous oversight. Take, for example, an EU-based company selling rubber bullets to authorities with a record of firing them at peaceful protestors. Absurdly, this law as drafted, would mean that the company has to assess the human rights risks linked to the storage and transport of the bullets, but not their actual use.
This carve-out will effectively shelter some of the worst corporate human rights offenders in Europe.Hannah Storey, Amnesty International’s Policy Advisor on Business and Human Rights
“The Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive has the potential to be a ground-breaking piece of EU legislation. It could compel large companies to address the human rights and environmental impacts of their products, services, and sourcing. Yet this carve-out will effectively shelter some of the worst corporate human rights offenders in Europe.
“As it stands this is a woefully missed opportunity to enact binding human rights due diligence obligations on businesses operating in the EU, and to prevent their products or services from inflicting pain and suffering. We are calling for the exemption on use to be reversed so that human rights can be protected.
We are calling for the exemption on use to be reversed so that human rights can be protected.Hannah Storey
The European Parliament Committee on Legal Affairs’ position on the Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive is due to be finalised by the end of April, and then voted on by the Parliament in May. There will then be negotiations between the European Parliament, European Commission and Council of the EU on a final directive. As currently drafted, the Committee on Legal Affairs’ position fails to meet international human rights standards, which require companies to assess human rights risks and impacts throughout their entire value chain, from the extraction of raw materials to the use of their products and services.