Statement by India under Agenda Item 3 General Debate at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council delivered by Sh. Animesh Choudhury, First Secretary on 08th March 2019.

Statement by India under Agenda Item 3 General Debate at the 40th Session of the Human Rights Council delivered by Sh. Animesh Choudhury, First Secretary on 08th March 2019.

Thank You Mr. President,

     At the outset India places on record its appreciation for the efforts put in by the Permanent Mission of Ecuador to the United Nations and other International Organizations in Geneva to push forward this process following HRC Resolution 26/9. India also thanks the Secretariat for the preparation of the Report contained in the document A/HRC/40/48.

Mr. President,

2. The 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development as adopted by the United Nation General Assembly (UNGA) also recognises the business sector as a key partner for the United Nations and governments to achieve the sustainable development goals. Considering the global expansion of businesses, the international community has increasingly felt the need to recognise the corporate responsibility of businesses to respect human rights. 

Mr. President, 

3. A significant achievement on the subject of business and human rights was the adoption of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011. On the domestic front, India has made several positive strides in recognising responsibility of businesses towards the society at large. The recent reforms in corporate law culminating in the enactment of the Companies Act, 2013 have witnessed that the Indian legal framework has moved towards a stakeholder model of governance from a shareholder model of governance. India is the only country that recognises in its corporate law, the duty of businesses to contribute to social development. This has been complemented by voluntary measures such as the National Voluntary Guidelines on Social, Environmental and Economic Responsibilities of Businesses. India has also started work on a Nation Action Plan on Business and Human Rights.

Mr. President,

4. During the 4th Session of the Open-Ended Intergovernmental Working Group, we witnessed detailed and valuable interventions on various articles and elements of the zero draft from the floor. India had also made significant interventions and comments on the various articles of the draft text particularly with respect to the subject of scope, definition, jurisdiction, prevention, applicable law amongst others. India believes that any such instrument should not cover national enterprises as we already have domestic laws in place for their regulation. Hence the zero draft needs considerable revision and clarification based on the points raised during these interventions. This is essential as any such instrument has to be first aligned with the domestic legal framework and be in harmony with the local conditions and needs.

Mr. President,

5. India reiterates that any legal instrument on this subject needs to be balanced and sufficiently flexible otherwise it will be very difficult to garner wider acceptance. We understand that this is going to be a long-drawn process. India remains committed to engaging in a constructive manner during the entire process.

Thank You.

 

 
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