17 Dec 2020
Legislation and cases

There have been fewer business and human right related legal developments in South America during the course of 2020, though a number of countries continue to actively develop National Action Plans (NAPs) on implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, including Ecuador, Argentina and Peru. Colombia and Chile, the only countries in South America to have published NAPs to date, have also announced that they are working on updated versions. At the regional level, the Escazú Agreement has now been ratified by eleven countries, and will enter into force in early 2021. The treaty will increase access to public information on environmental matters, and it also contains provisions on the protection of human rights defenders.

In terms of key developments in national law, in September 2020 Brazil’s Supreme Court confirmed the legality of the so-called ‘Dirty List’, a publicly maintained list of employers which the Labour Inspection Secretariat has determined have engaged in slave labour. This remains the most prominent example of a national measure in South America which seeks to incentivise good corporate labour practices through transparency.

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