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To counter injustice with legal interventions – this is the aim and daily work of the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights.

ECCHR is an independent, non-profit legal and educational organization dedicated to enforcing civil and human rights worldwide. It was founded in 2007 by Wolfgang Kaleck and other international human rights lawyers to protect and enforce the rights guaranteed by the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, as well as other human rights declarations and national constitutions, through legal means.

Together with those affected and partners worldwide, ECCHR uses legal means to end impunity for those responsible for torture, war crimes, sexual and gender-based violence, corporate exploitation and fortressed borders.

06.09.2022

100 organisations demand: EU law must put climate and human rights before profits

Civil society organisations and trade unions launch Justice is Everybody's Business campaign in Brussels

No more exploitation, no more environmental destruction, no more bad/unjust business practices by European companies. Those are the demands of the Justice is Everybody’s Business campaign, launched today in Brussels by over 100 civil society and trade union organisations. They ask the EU to issue a strong due diligence law that effectively prevents environmental and human rights violations and holds business accountable.

“It is about time for the EU to rebalance justice over profits – and peoples’ interests over the business lobby. Reckless business have been allowed to roam for too long. The EU is now in the position to adopt a strong law that holds lead companies responsible for harm that happens anywhere in their supply chain and empower those affected to seek justice,” says Ben Vanpeperstraete, Senior Legal Advisor at the European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights. ECCHR acts as steering group member of the Justice is Everybody's Business campaign.
 
Even though countries like France and Germany are leading the way with national human rights due diligence laws, they do not sufficiently protect both people and planet from the impact of European business operations. In February this year, the European Commission unveiled its proposal for an EU law requiring large companies to conduct checks on their investments, supply chains and own operations to identify, prevent and address human rights and environmental risks and impacts within and outside the EU.

However, the proposal contains dangerous loopholes that will fail to guarantee justice. It fails to sufficiently empower those suffering from bad business practices to get justice in courts within the EU. And despite corporations' massive impact on the climate crisis, the draft law ignores to oblige companies to reduce their greenhouse gas emissions and to hold them liable for failing to do so. 

Miriam Saage-Maaß, Legal Director at ECCHR states: “Heatwaves in Europe or life-threatening rising sea levels in Indonesia show: The climate crisis results in human rights violations – and European corporations share a part of the responsibility for this. The new EU law must take this into account and create actionable due diligence obligations regarding climate change caused by business.”

The campaign is launched with a public action in Brussels where 3 metre tall ‘scales of justice’ shows the current imbalances between corporate profits on one side and human rights, environmental and climate justice on the other side – and that public pressure can tip the scales. A poll conducted in nine EU countries last year indicated that over 80% of European citizens want strong laws to hold companies liable for overseas human rights and environmental violations.

Learn more about the Justice is Everybody's Business campaign and our demands here.


Spokespeople for Justice is Everybody's Business:

  • Jill McArdle, corporate accountability campaigner, Friends of the Earth Europe, jill.mcardle[at]foeeurope.org, + 32 48 49 04 404 [EN]
  • Paul de Clerck, Economic justice expert, Friends of the Earth Europe, paul.declerck[at]foeeurope.org, +32 (0)494 380959 [EN, NL]
  • Sylvia Obregon Quiroz, Policy Officer at the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, sylvia.obregon[at]corporatejustice.org, +32 (0)472 12 23 82  [EN, ES]
  • Giuseppe Cioffo, Advocacy Officer for CIDSE, cioffi[at]cidse.org, +32 492 49 16 68, [EN, IT, FR]
  • Ben Vanpeperstraete, Senior Legal Advisor at ECCHR, vanpeperstraete[at]ecchr.eu, +32 473 55 70 53 [NL, EN]
  • Niklas Franke, Project Officer, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), nfranke[at]etuc.org, +32 478 700 935 [EN, GER, ES, FR]

Press contacts:

  • Yvonne Lemmen, Communications Officer at Friends of the Earth Europe, yvonne.lemmen[at]foeeurope.org.
  • Iva Petkovic, Communications Officer at the European Coalition for Corporate Justice, iva.petkovic[at]corporatejustice.org, +32 (0)483 30 42 94 
  • Michelle Trimborn, Communications Officer at ECCHR, presse[at]ecchr.eu, +49 1577 57 23 737
  • Daniele Melli, Senior Comms Advisor, European Trade Union Confederation (ETUC), dmelli[at]etuc.org, +32 473 94 25 63 [EN, IT, FR]
  • Carmen Contreras, Communications Officer at CIDSE, contreras[at]cidse.org, +34 655426956

cases

Europe

Now more than ever: The EU needs a strong supply chain law

Supply chains

First France, then the Netherlands and Germany – more and more European countries are introducing supply chain laws because they have come to recognize that oil spills, theft of natural resources and forced labor do not arise from nowhere. They are the result of the ruthless practices of companies along their global value chains.

Press Contact

Maria Bause
T: +49 30 69819797
M: presse@ecchr.eu

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