NGOs and experts call on EU to ensure new directive addresses risks in conflict-affected areas
Conflict-affected and high-risk areas are not given enough consideration in the EU’s new mandatory due diligence directive. So International Alert has joined civil society organizations and academic professionals active in the field of business, conflict and human rights to call upon EU policy makers to include specific provisions on conflict in the due diligence directive.
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.
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 play attention to the risks at play in conflict-affected and high-risk areas. In this open letter, we call upon EU policy makers to include specific provisions on conflict in the due diligence directive.
By doing so, the EU can 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.