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Human Rights Council – 32nd Session (13 June – 1 July 2016) Item 5 General Debate Statement by Ireland

23 June 2016

Ireland aligns itself with the statement made on behalf of the European Union and adds the following. Mr President, Ireland welcomes the report on the 2015 Forum on Business and Human Rights (A/HRC/32/46).

The Annual Forum provides a valuable opportunity to further build awareness of the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. We believe that multi-stakeholder discussions facilitated by the Forum are an essential element of any discussion on business and human rights.

Ireland is committed to the implementation of the Guiding Principles. The focus of discussions at the 4th session on policy and practice coherence at national level was particularly valuable in the context of the preparation of Ireland’s first National Plan on Business and Human Rights.

We welcome the focus at the Forum, and in this report, on groups at risk, including human rights defenders, who can be targeted due to their efforts to address harmful business conduct. The report illustrates the risks they face and highlights that they can help to ensure that companies observe human rights due diligence.

We share the view that an open and secure civic space is a key element of building an inclusive, stable society in which the rule of law prevails and sustainable economic development can benefit business and the community alike.

Ireland also welcomes the OHCHR initiative on enhancing accountability and access to remedy, which was discussed at the Forum, as a useful tool in helping to work towards better realization of pillar three of the Guiding Principles. Access to remedy for victims of businessrelated abuses is a key element of the protect, respect, and remedy framework. We thank the High Commissioner for Human Rights for the report presented at this session on guidance to improve corporate accountability and access to judicial remedy for business-related human rights abuse.

Finally, as the item under which the Secretary General’s report on cooperation with the United Nations, its representatives and mechanisms in the field of human rights, we take the opportunity to recall the obligation of all States to protect persons cooperating with the UN and to ensure they may do so safely and without hindrance.

Thank you