National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights: Progress or Mirage?

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32 Citations (Scopus)


As of October 2018, 21 states have adopted National Action Plans on Business and Human Rights (NAPs), with several more in different phases of development. This is an important political step to raise awareness of the importance of intragovernmental policy coherence and of the need to move forward to prevent human rights abuses linked to business activity. However, despite the global intergovernmental support to such policy strategies, the actual effectiveness of NAPs needs to be called into question: Do they represent progress, or are they a mirage to block possible avenues of development? Currently existing NAPs have done little (yet) to ensure more effective protection in key policy areas, including trade and investment, state-owned enterprises, and particularly in relation to legislative developments and access to remedy. This contribution seeks to analyse the merits of developing NAPs, the importance of ensuring they become only the very first step towards a more effective protection of human rights, and to question whether their importance needs to be adjusted to what they really are: Policy tools with limited effects and with a politically linked time frame.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)213-237
Number of pages25
JournalBusiness and Human Rights Journal
Issue number2
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2019

Bibliographical note

Publisher Copyright:
© 2019 Cambridge University Press.

All Science Journal Classification (ASJC) codes

  • Business and International Management
  • Industrial relations
  • Sociology and Political Science
  • Law


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