‘Guide for the protection and promotion of human rights in public procurement’ released

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Elaborated by Tornos Abogados and promoted by the organizations Novact, Nexes and Servei Civil Internacional, the “Guide for the protection and promotion of human rights in public procurement” offers public administrations a useful and simple tool to guarantee compliance with their responsibility as a safeguard of Human Rights within an implementable and effective legal framework. The Catalan version was presented in Barcelona in November 2017 and has just been published in English and Spanish.

With the aim of offering Catalan administrations a responsible recruitment guide adapted to the legislative framework of the Spanish State, the organizations Novact, Servei Civil Internacional and Nexes, have promoted the “Guide for the protection and promotion of human rights in public procurement”. It is a document with recommendations and proposals to promote public procurement and purchase with ethical criteria by the administrations. It includes the proposal of clauses that promote respect for Human Rights, and is expected to generate deterrent mechanisms for the hiring of companies that have violations throughout the production or the supply chain of their articles or services.

The “Guide for the protection and promotion of human rights in public procurement” provides a legal framework, as well as clauses ready to apply in all phases of the public procurement process, and concrete examples of initiatives that are underway. As a complement to the legal guide, the project offers annexes with cases of companies that have violated human rights, investigated by the Observatory of Human Rights and Business in the Mediterranean.

The ‘Guide for the protection and promotion of human rights in public procurement’ is part of the project “Improvement of public procurement processes through ethical criteria and respect to Human Rights.”

In Catalonia, the project has carried out advisory and training sessions for the technical staff of the town councils of the Regional Council of Vallès Oriental and the municipalities of Granollers, Parts, Cambrils, Vallromanes, La Garriga, Vic, Gava, Manresa and Terrassa. These sessions have helped to identify the challenges that responsible public procurement can face, as well as to develop potential mechanisms to implement this new framework in the daily tasks by the administrations.

Joint responsibility of public administrations in the violations of human rights of their supplier companies is currently being debated at all levels. From October 15th to 19th, 2018, the fourth session of the Intergovernmental Working Group will take place at the United Nations headquarters in Geneva. The mandate of the Intergovernmental Working Group is to develop a binding treaty for transnational corporations and other companies on matters of respect and compliance with Human Rights. During this 4th session negotiations on the draft treaty will take place. In the context of the Spanish State, the National Action Plan for Companies and Human Rights was approved in October 2017, a tool that entities that work in the field of Human Rights and companies consider insufficient to prevent violations from occurring. The measures put forward by the National Action Plan are essentialy non-binding and rely entirely on the good will of business corporations.


The ‘Guide for the protection and promotion of human rights in public procurement’ responds to a demand from civil society and municipalities to develop legal tools for ensuring respect for human rights in the institutional sphere. It has been developed by ‘Tornos’ legal team and has received contributions from international experts. This is a project of NOVACT, Nexes and Servei Civil International funded by the Peace and Diplomacy of Cities commission of the Catalan Fund for Development Cooperation. The project has enjoyed the active collaboration of several catalan municipalities, among them Sant Boi del Llobregat, Terrassa, Granollers, Montornés del Vallès, Artés, Vallromanes, Esparreguera, Celrà, Sant Just Desvern, Altafulla, Sabadell, Gavà, Vic, Mataró, Santa Perpètua de la Mogoda, Prat de Llobregat and the Regional Council of Vallès Oriental. The project has received the support of the Metropolitan Area of Barcelona and the Barcelona City Council.


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