German action plan on business and human rights: a step forward or just business as usual?

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Hutt, Lara Sophia
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With the endorsement of the UN Framework and the associated Guiding Principles the business and human rights debate obtained a long lacking authoritative conceptual framework, clarifying the different but complementary responsibilities of states and corporations. Now, in order to achieve sustainable progress and to ensure its functionality, much depends on the legal and political implementation of the principles at the national level - through so-called National Action Plans on business and human rights (NAPs). In the last five years, twenty-one countries have published such action plans and many more are in the process of drafting. In this thesis, a special focus has been set on the German NAP and its current status of practical implementation. Countries such as Germany, which are home to a large number of corporations operating globally, have a particular role to play in fostering human rights protection. After having announced the publication of an ambitious action plan, Germany had the opportunity to provide a minimum standard of human rights due diligence and to implement measures to effectively preventing possible violations in the first place. The questions of whether Germany fulfils this role and to what extent the NAP has the potential to contribute towards greater responsibility and accountability of state measures and corporate practice lie at the core of this paper.
Second semester University: University of Seville
business, human rights, Germany