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The Swiss Human Rights Due Diligence Legislation: Between Law and Politics


Bueno, Nicolas; Kaufmann, Christine (2021). The Swiss Human Rights Due Diligence Legislation: Between Law and Politics. Business and Human Rights Journal, (6):542-549.

Abstract

On 29 November 2020, Swiss citizens voted on a popular constitutional initiative, known as the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative.1 The vote was triggered by an initiative signed by more than the required 100,000 Swiss citizens who used their constitutional right to ask for an amendment of the Swiss Constitution by introducing a new provision on mandatory human rights due diligence and corporate liability. For such an initiative to be successful, both the majority of the people as well as of the cantons (states) is required. While 50.7 per cent of the participating voters accepted the initiative, the proposal did not reach the majority of the cantons and therefore the Responsible Business Initiative was rejected. Its rejection nevertheless triggered the adoption of new reporting and due diligence obligations relating to conflict minerals and child labour, which the Parliament had promised to adopt in case the Responsible Business Initiative was rejected.2 This contribution outlines the content of the newly adopted human rights due diligence legislation that will reflect the due diligence standard for companies in Switzerland for the years to come. It also aims to inform policy makers in other countries by describing the political struggle underlying the adoption of mandatory human rights due diligence in Switzerland.

Abstract

On 29 November 2020, Swiss citizens voted on a popular constitutional initiative, known as the Swiss Responsible Business Initiative.1 The vote was triggered by an initiative signed by more than the required 100,000 Swiss citizens who used their constitutional right to ask for an amendment of the Swiss Constitution by introducing a new provision on mandatory human rights due diligence and corporate liability. For such an initiative to be successful, both the majority of the people as well as of the cantons (states) is required. While 50.7 per cent of the participating voters accepted the initiative, the proposal did not reach the majority of the cantons and therefore the Responsible Business Initiative was rejected. Its rejection nevertheless triggered the adoption of new reporting and due diligence obligations relating to conflict minerals and child labour, which the Parliament had promised to adopt in case the Responsible Business Initiative was rejected.2 This contribution outlines the content of the newly adopted human rights due diligence legislation that will reflect the due diligence standard for companies in Switzerland for the years to come. It also aims to inform policy makers in other countries by describing the political struggle underlying the adoption of mandatory human rights due diligence in Switzerland.

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Additional indexing

Item Type:Journal Article, refereed, original work
Communities & Collections:02 Faculty of Law > Human Rights Competence Center
Dewey Decimal Classification:320 Political science
340 Law
Scopus Subject Areas:Social Sciences & Humanities > Business and International Management
Social Sciences & Humanities > Industrial Relations
Social Sciences & Humanities > Sociology and Political Science
Social Sciences & Humanities > Law
Uncontrolled Keywords:Law, Sociology and Political Science, Industrial relations, Business and International Management
Language:English
Date:16 September 2021
Deposited On:20 Feb 2023 17:33
Last Modified:25 Apr 2024 01:39
Publisher:Cambridge University Press
ISSN:2057-0198
OA Status:Hybrid
Free access at:Publisher DOI. An embargo period may apply.
Publisher DOI:https://doi.org/10.1017/bhj.2021.42
  • Content: Published Version
  • Licence: Creative Commons: Attribution 4.0 International (CC BY 4.0)