UN Business and Human Rights Process
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council on 16 June 2011. The Principles were created by the UN Special Rapporteur on Business and Human Rights Prof. John Ruggie, to implement his ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework, which was agreed by the UN in 2008.
The agreement of the framework was widely regarded as a major breakthrough in international corporate accountability and broadly welcomed by governments, business and civil society. The Framework clarifies the duties and responsibilities of governments and corporate actors, and rests on three ‘pillars’:
- the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business;
- the corporate responsibility to respect human rights;
- greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.
The Guiding Principles are intended to form a common platform for action on business and human rights challenges. Rather than creating new international law, they set out the implications of existing standards and practices for States and businesses.
Governments, business and civil society have shown huge interest in the Principles. The UK’s Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) has identified business and human rights as a priority area and is currently developing a strategy designed to guide the implementation of the Principles across government.
CORE welcomes the Principles and regards them as a useful minimum standard. Governments and companies must now set about implementing the Principles in a way that makes a genuine difference for workers and communities.