Comunicación

Symposium: “Business and Human Rights: the role of the legal profession”

Date: June 3rd2015
Place: Gómez-Acebo & Pombo Abogados, Madrid (Spain).

The Symposium Business and Human Rights: the role of the legal profession took place on the 3rd of June, organized by the Fernando Pombo Foundation with the support of the Human Rights Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation. This symposium is a landmark in the foundation’s activities and particularly in the accomplishment of its goals.

Fernando Pombo Foundation will give complimentary online access to the recording of the whole event (both in Spanish and English) that will complete the following information:

Press release of the Symposium: Business and Human Rights: the role of the legal profession

PROGRAM/AGENDA (Download)

Opening

(From 9:00 to 10:00)

  • Joaquín García-Romanillos, Chairman of the Fernando Pombo Foundation.
  • Carlos Carnicer, Chairman of the Spanish Bar Association.

Lecture (From 10:00 to 10:20)
The National Plan for Business and Human Rights. Adela Díaz Bernárdez, Deputy Director of the Human Rights Office of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Cooperation.

Round Table (From 10:20 to 11:30)
Experiences of multinationals legal departments in the compliance of Human Rights.

Moderator:

Carmen Pombo, general manager of the Fernando Pombo Foundation.

Speakers:

Coffee Break (From 11:30 to 12:00)

International Lectures

From 12:00 to 13:00: The importance of the Guiding Principles to the legal profession. Nicole Bigby, partner director of Risk, Berwin Leighton Paisner. (Download the presentation of Nicole Bigby)

From 13:00 to 13:40: The practical application of the UN Guiding Principles to lawyers. John Sherman, Shift Project and Chair of the IBA Business and Human Rights Working Group. (Download the presentation of Jhon Sherman)

Final remarks and closing ceremony (From 13:40 to 14:00)

  • Ana María Ovejero, academic advisor of the Fernando Pombo Foundation, director of the Center of Excellence for Research on Values and Social Responsibility of the European University of Madrid.
  • Carmen Pombo, general manager of the Fernando Pombo Foundation.
    (Download the concluding remarks)

 


In 2008, the United Nations published the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UN Protect, Respect and Remedy: A framework for business and Human Rights) and in 2011 it published the guide to implement those principles, known as the Ruggie Principles due to its editor. In October 2011, the European Union endorsed the new regulatory framework and launched the new Strategy for the European Union 2011-2014 on the social responsibilities of business, in which the EU invited States to develop national plans to promote the application of those principles. Spain accepted this proposal and from then on the Human Rights Office is promoting the drafting of the Spanish National Plan on business and Human Rights, in line with the European strategy.

Within this framework, the Fernando Pombo Foundation launched a program on the implementation of the Guiding Principles focused on the essential role of the legal profession on its counsel to businesses.

For the Foundation, the role of the legal profession is vital for the promotion and protection of Human Rights, as the legal knowledge is a basic tool to respect the duties created by the new UN framework. Therefore, the role of lawyers is determinant. It is evident that the legal professionals must intervene in the reparation of Human Rights’ violations caused by commercial activities of their clients, but they must also contribute to the prevention, every time they offer a service, by acting from the ethic and deontological responsibility acquired by the legal knowledge and the values of the Rule of Law, whoever the client is and whenever the service is offered.

The symposium “Business and Human Rights: the role of the legal profession” that the Fernando Pombo Foundation held on the 3rd of June, aimed to present this project and to contribute to the diffusion of the UN principles and the draft of the Spanish National Plan on business and Human Rights.