South America: Overseas Companies

Foreign and Commonwealth Office written question – answered on 23rd April 2018.

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Photo of Patrick Grady Patrick Grady SNP Chief Whip

To ask the Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs, what steps his Department is taking to ensure that UK companies operating in (a) Colombia and (b) Peru comply with international standards on preventing negative social and environmental impacts of their operations on local communities.

Photo of Alan Duncan Alan Duncan Minister of State

The UK is a strong supporter of the UN's Voluntary Principles (VPs) for Security and Human Rights. The VPs are designed to guide businesses in maintaining safety and security of their operations with respect for human rights and prevent negative impact on local communities.

In Colombia, our Embassy has (a) supported a joint declaration with more than 20 British companies as a commitment to the implementation of the Government's National Action Plan on Business and Human Rights, and (b) projects helping the Government develop the technical expertise to implement this plan and British companies seeking guidance on how to operate in accordance with the VPs.

In Peru, our Embassy has been actively supporting the National Human Rights Coordinator on guaranteeing protection for rural communities affected by big companies working in their lands. It participates in the monthly VPs Working Group along with international cooperation, the Government, Civil Society and the Private Sector. Through the Global Britain Fund, our Embassy will support projects that help implement the VPs on Security and Human Rights in Peru. Peru endorses the VPs as a risk management framework and has agreed to join the initiative.

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