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Leader or laggard?: Is the UK meeting its commitments on business and human rights?

15 November 2016

In this report, CAFOD calls for a range of actions from the government, including providing legal remedies for communities and obligations for companies, undertaking impact assessments which are available to the public, and developing a cross-departmental strategy on business and human rights.

The UK has provided leadership on business and human rights issues, including in the agreement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and measures on modern slavery. However, CAFOD has questioned whether the government is doing enough to protect the world’s poorest people from harm caused by British businesses operating overseas, including providing access to justice to affected communities and participating in discussions on a business and human rights treaty.

Key themes

This report analyses a limited number of specific policies and activities of key government departments and also highlights areas for future action, if the UK is to be a leader in this important field. The themes covered are:

  • Understanding the UK’s approach to business and human rights.

  • Ensuring access to justice for communities harmed by business activities.

  • Taking a leadership role in the international debate on business and human rights including trade and investment.

  • Ensuring that affected communities have a voice in deciding national policies on business and human rights.

  • Making the UK’s development policy consistent with its commitments on business and human rights.

Policy and research

CAFOD's policy team provides briefings, reports and research on our advocacy and lobbying work, plus materials to support our campaigns.