The National Human Rights Commission of Korea (NHRCK) submitted a recommendation to the Ministry of Knowledge Economy that it is necessary to improve the composition and operation of the National Contact Point (NCP), established under the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, and to increase access of individuals, employees, businesses and other parties concerned to the NCP.
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises was first adopted in 1976 and OECD member States have undertaken a series of revisions. In 2001, the revised OECD Guidelines encouraged setting up National Contact Points to serve the role in raising awareness of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, handling inquiries, and facilitating resolution of the issues concerned business’ impact on human rights.
The Korean government has assigned the Committee of the Foreign Investment to the duty of NCP, adhering to the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises. The Committee is mandated to disseminate the Guidelines to government, businesses, civil society, general public and other parties concerned; to provide appropriate education encouraging the implementation of the Guidelines; and to facilitate dialogues between parties concerned in the case of human rights violations by businesses.
The NHRCK reviewed the activities of the NCP in Koreato consider whether the NCP has fulfilled the core standards of the OECD Guidelines and the role of preventing and redressing the human rights violations by businesses. The Commission concluded that the Committee of the Foreign Investment was consisted of dominantly senior government officials and lacked a cooperative framework with private sectors. As a matter of fact, a division in the Ministry of Knowledge Economy performed the role of the NCP instead of the Committee. It also raised the fact that the NCP only received 8 inquiries and made a single recommendation since its establishment of 2001. The NHRCK also viewed that the NCP has not been effective in promoting the OECD Guidelines at the national level with the aim to cultivate a culture of business respect for human rights.
The NHRCK recommended the Committee to cooperate with private sectors and other stakeholders; to make the inquiry handling procedure widely known and available; and to ensure visibility, accessibility, transparency and accountability in its work.