Irish companies criticized for foreign human rights concerns

Many large European companies, including some based in Ireland, have been linked to serious human rights and environmental abuses through their supply chains and global operations, Oireachtas Foreign Affairs Committee says and defense.

Included was BSE which, for more than two decades, “imported millions of tonnes of coal from the Cerrejón mine (in Colombia), despite years of extremely serious human rights violations and associated environmental damage. . Since 2001, it has supplied most of the coal burned to the Moneypoint power station in County Clare, ”said Conor O’Neill of Christian Aid Ireland.

“Our Colombian partners rightly ask that we question the energy we consume, where does it come from, how does it get here? he said. This was “not in line with ESB’s obligations under the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” he said.

There was also “the case of a Palestinian, Awni Shaaeb, whose farmland in the occupied West Bank was seized by Israeli settlers, and a settlement was established there.” It is illegal under international law ”.

However, “any of us can log onto Airbnb.ie this afternoon and book a vacation rental in the illegal settlement built on our family’s land. These bookings are made through Airbnb Ireland, based in Dublin Docklands. Israeli citizens and international tourists “can pay to stay there, but Palestinians are effectively banned,” he said.

Garry Walsh de Trócaire told Committee members that the key to tackling these buses “is to move beyond voluntary commitments to legally binding regulations. This would be the most effective way to systematically address these problems, as in the cases we have heard about in Colombia and Palestine. “

Ireland’s approach, he said, “relied heavily on promoting voluntary measures rather than advancing binding legislation.” However, a recent study by Trinity College ‘showed that among Ireland’s 60 largest companies, as well as Ireland’s 10 largest state-owned enterprises, 34% scored zero on integrating respect for corporate rights. ‘man in their operations’.

Recent developments across Europe have shown “a clear shift now towards stronger binding legal requirements.” France, Germany and Norway have all introduced legislation for mandatory human rights due diligence in supply chains, ”he said.

“We believe that developing strong Irish legislation should be the priority”, making “mandatory for companies to undertake human rights and environmental due diligence. Such a legal obligation should cover all Irish businesses, ”he said.

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