The Minister of Foreign Affairs, Heraldo Muñoz, presented President Michelle Bachelet with the National Action Plan of Business Human Rights in Chile. The purpose of this initiative is for the State to protect the human rights in relation with the activities of corporations, understanding it as an essential foundation for sustainable development.
The Plan hopes to implement, at a national level, the three guiding principles of Business Human Rights: The duty of the state to protect the citizens in front an abuse of their human rights perpetrated by a third party, including companies; the obligation of companies of respecting human rights; and the necessity of improving the access of the abuse victims to effective remedy (which is a duty of both the State and the Corporations).
"The Chancellery has faced the very inspiring challenge of coordinating the National Action Plan on Business Human Rights and has had the satisfaction of presenting the President of the Republic with a document that is robust in content, with an ensemble of practical proposals that are possible if everyone is committed and willing to take part", affirmed the Foreign Minister in the ceremony, which took place in Salon O'Higgins at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, and was attended by the Business Human Rights Special Agent of the UN, John Ruggie.
The Plan is structured in the three cornerstones of the Guiding Principles and, within each cornerstone, axes were established according to the topics that came up in the dialogues that preceded their formulation. Thus, the plan is made up of 159 concrete commitments of 17 public institutions and other actors, and amongst its fundamental characteristics, the co-construction of commitments adopted by different entities can be found.
Many of the initiatives of the Action Plan seek to create documents, spaces of dialogue and the training of agents that allow to progressively move forward in the field of Business Human Rights in Chile. However, its greater importance lies in the fact that it presents a convergence of the wishes of different public institutions to implement the topic in its different fields of activity.
By the same token, it hopes to develop a link between the business and human rights agenda and the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development and the Sustainable Development Goals that it contains, taking into consideration the convergence of both and the important role the corporate sector plays in this scenario.
"The release of this Project represents the conclusion of a long process of coordination between public institutions. But it has also been an invitation to public and private companies, big and small, national and transnational, as well as the civil society, union and indigenous people to join in and continue to boost this agenda, which is fundamental for Chile and our region", declared the Minister. "Today we set a precedent. The long process of creating this policy has not been easy because the relation between Human Rights and Business had not been previously discussed in Chile. It meant an effort of Institutional Coordination, citizen participation and dialogue", he added.
"Today we have a public policy that is robust, coordinated and developed in an inclusive manner, which we hope will pave the way to decidedly strengthen the protection of the Human Rights in the Corporate Sector in Chile", finished the Minister.