Contribution of the Colombian National NGOs Roundtable on business and human rights to the document on Conflict and Post-Conflict of the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights
10 April 2020
With regard to the Working Group’s (WG) interest in “identifying and clarifying the policies and practices of States and companies, including public and private investors, throughout the ‘conflict cycle’ and the three pillars of ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ of the Guiding Principles (UNGPs)”, the National NGOs Roundtable on Business and Human Rights submits this contribution – based on the analysis of the Colombian case – with the hope that it will help to “better understand the practical steps that all actors should take to prevent and address business-related human rights abuses”.
1. On the concept of conflict and its relationship to business operations
The WG has expressed its concern that companies understand what can be considered an armed conflict and in its working documents it has referred to the term “cycles of conflict”. This expression seems to allude to classical conflict theory and tries, above all, to describe the stages of armed conflicts in space and time, with the aim of providing “clarity” (and especially legal protection) to companies. However, this understanding is limited.