BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS

With Resolution 2005/69, the UN Commission on Human Rights requested “Secretary-General to appoint a special representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises”.

The Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises – Prof. Ruggie – proposed a policy framework comprising three core principles: the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, through appropriate policies, regulation, and adjudication; the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others; and the need for greater access by victims to effective remedies, judicial and non-judicial.

With Resolution 8/7, the Human Rights Council renewed the Special Representative’s mandate for a period of three years until June 2011 for the purpose of operationalizing the 2008 Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework.

The report builds further on the Protect, Respect and Remedy Framework, summarizing the current knowledge on the three pillars and providing for synergies among them, pointing towards the guiding principles that will constitute the mandate’s final product.

The final report of the Special Representative presents the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework” for consideration by the Human Rights Council.

  • United Nations – Human Rights Council, Resolution 17/4, UN Doc. A/HRC/RES/17/4, 6 July 2011

With Resolution 17/4 of 16 June 2011, the Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles and established a Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

The publication contains the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights providing for extensive commentary under each principle.

It is the main EU policy addressing the implementation of the Guiding Principles. Particularly, improving the coherence of EU policies with the UN Guiding Principles through National Action Plans is seen as a critical challenge.

The Interpretive Guide provides further explanation of the Guiding Principles that relate to the corporate responsibility to respect human rights.

With its Strategic Framework and Action Plan on Human Rights and Democracy, the Council of EU pledged its full support to the Guiding Principles.

During the 2013 Forum on Business and Human Rights, the EU reiterated its commitment to the implementation of the Guiding Principles.

With Resolution 26/22, the Human Rights Council mandated further work on exploring “the full range of legal options and practical measures to improve access to remedy for victims of business-related human right abuses”.

The publication with frequently asked questions (FAQs) is not intended as operational guidance, rather it aims to explain the background and the contents of the Guiding Principles and how they relate to the broader human rights system and other frameworks.

The report sets out guidance to improve accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses, following the Accountability and Remedy Project of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and in response to the request by the Human Rights Council in its Resolution 26/22.