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Cooperation with National Human Rights Institutions in partner countries

The Colombian Defensoría del Pueblo (Defensoría) and the German Institute for Human Rights (Deutsches Institut für Menschenrechte, DIMR), the National Human Rights Institutions of Colombia and Germany, respectively, started a cooperation in October 2015 to address business-related human rights issues arising from coal mining in Colombia.
Germany 2015
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On behalf of the Federal Ministry for Economic Cooperation and Development (BMZ), the German Institute for Human Rights (DIMR) has researched human rights risks in sectors where violations of human rights are particularly prevalent, such as the mining of raw materials, the production of textiles and investments in land. In order to do so, it has worked together with other National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs). One such example of this was the cooperation with the Colombian Defensoría del Pueblo.

Being placed at both ends of the supply chain, both NHRIs wanted to improve their institutional capacity and strategies for a more effective implementation of the UN Guiding Principles.

They adopted a network model for their cooperation, structured around dialogue, mutual understanding and joint undertakings, and implemented a set of measures that promoted exchange, common research, and capacity building. Both NHRIs have the mandate to advise their respective governments and used this role to link the human rights issues in Colombia’s mining sector to decision-making in Germany.

As a result of the cooperation, the Defensoría gained a comprehensive overview of the perspectives and needs of all relevant stakeholders, including the uncertainties regarding the responsibilities of the different stakeholders as well as an urgent need to strengthen state monitoring, enforcement and grievance mechanisms at the regional level.

The Defensoría has started to develop an institutional action plan for business-related human rights violations. This plan includes a policy guideline that specifies the duties that the Defensoría intends to fulfil in the area of prevention, monitoring and access to remedy.

The DIMR used the results of the cooperation to develop two sets of recommendations. One set was presented to the German government and is addressed to German development policymakers. The other set of recommendations was discussed with German civil society and representatives of businesses in the energy sector. The DIMR also facilitated a meeting between German energy groups and the Defensoría in Colombia.

Read more on the cooperation project

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