In conflict-affected areas, businesses face a high risk of becoming involved in severe human rights abuses and violations of international humanitarian law. To avoid this, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights require states and companies to conduct heightened, conflict-sensitive due diligence when active in these areas.
Many EU-based businesses operate in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. They source raw materials and import products from for example Ukraine and Myanmar, have business operations in areas under military occupation, including the Occupied Palestinian Territories, or supply weapons to regimes accused of committing war crimes.
Call upon EU policy makers
The EU needs to ensure greater alignment of its policies with the UN Guiding Principles. The new EU directive on mandatory due diligence for companies doesn’t currently pay attention to the risks at play in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. In this open letter, over forty civil society organizations and academic professionals active in the field of business, conflict and human rights call upon EU policy makers to include specific provisions on conflict in the due diligence directive.
The vulnerable should not be forgotten
By doing so, the EU can ensure the most vulnerable to Human Rights violations are not forgotten. The directive should help businesses avoid causing or exacerbating conflict and negative human rights impacts in conflict-affected areas and make a critical contribution to the protection and promotion of international peace, security and human rights.