National human rights institutions are part of non-judicial remedies
National institutions have an important role to play in providing non-discriminatory remedies
Geneva: 10 October 2019
Sultan bin Hassan Al-Jamali, Assistant Secretary-General of the National Human Rights Committee stressed that NHRIs perform many functions besides receiving complaints, they make proactive efforts, including monitoring human rights violations in the “state” where business enterprises are believed to commit or involved in, as well as monitoring the performance of the government and business enterprises each in the field of its responsibilities, as well as identifying the impact of investment agreements, corporate law and securities regulation on human rights policies, and other related issues such as labor laws, environmental protection and others. Al Jamali added that NHRIs that comply with the Paris Principles play an important role in assisting States to determine whether relevant laws are in line with their human rights obligations and whether they are effectively implemented, as well as in providing guidance on human rights to business enterprises.
Addressing Role of National Human Rights Institutions in Facilitating Access to Remedies for business-related human rights violations, organized by the Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises from 10 to 11 October at the Palais des Nations, Al-Jamali emphasized the role of NHRIs in ensuring effective remedies in a non-discriminatory manner and provide formal public reports, with particular attention to the rights and needs of individuals belonging to groups or population that that might be doubly vulnerable, such as workers, women and children, whether business enterprises are national or transnational, and regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership and structure, pointing out that The independence of NHRIs and their access to the necessary resources is essential for making “business and human rights” part of the global movement in the application of the Guiding Principles in the country concerned.
Al-Jamali reviewed the experience of the National Human Rights Committee in the State of Qatar, pointing out that we have considered the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and have ensured that the Committee:
Legitimate: A law has been issued clarifying its terms of reference and financing. The practical exercise reflects the fair conduct of grievance processes; where the law establishing the committee includes among its competences considering human rights violations, addressing complaints received and coordinating with the competent authorities to take the necessary action and propose ways to address them and prevent their recurrence. As a permanent and structured mechanism for receiving and dealing with citizens and residents’ complaints, the committee created a 24/7 hotline to receive complaints in several languages. In addition to receiving the complainants at the committee’s headquarters and providing free legal advice and opening files to document and deal with cases, the committee concluded an agreement with a group of 30 lawyers to provide free consultations and legal representation before the competent court for labor cases; Accessible: known to all stakeholder groups and providing adequate assistance for those who may face particular barriers to access. the Committee has launched offices for the African, Indian, Pakistani, Indonesian and Nepalese communities to enable further access; Predictable: providing a clear and known procedure with an indicative timeframe for each stage. It would take one week to take action with regard to a complaint, and as for follow-upping with government bodies, it would not take more than one month; Equitable: seeking to ensure that aggrieved parties have reasonable access to sources of information, advice and expertise necessary to engage in a grievance process on fair, informed and respectful terms, by means of qualified staff and experts providing legal advice as well as lawyers to contribute to raising grievances to judicial mechanisms; Transparent: The NHRC keeps parties to a grievance informed about its progress and providing sufficient information about the mechanism’s performance and other remedies available; Rights-compatible: The NHRC ensure that outcomes and remedies accord with internationally recognized human rights; and Based on engagement and dialogue: the NHRC consulting the stakeholder groups on human rights issues, such as bills, procedures and practices, as well as challenges and opportunities to address and resolve grievances.
Al Jamali concluded that The NHRC has maintained close cooperation with civil society through a number of memorandums of understanding to guarantee unified visions on human rights issues, exchange information, raise capacity, collaborate to solve the problems of those affected, and discuss situations to consider how assistance might best be provided.