What are the definition of Human Rights?
Human rights are basic entitlements for everyone. They are international standards for all people to be treated equally and with dignity.
What are business enterprises?
Business enterprises refer to all businesses, both transnational and others, regardless of sector or country of domicile or operation, of any size, ownership form or structure.
How does business and human rights differ from corporate social responsiblity?
In the past business enterprises have tended to approach social issues through their corporate social responsibility (CSR) programmes. CSR is frequently seen as the way that industry integrates economics, social and environmental concerns into their activities. However, many CSR initiatives are undertaken selectively, are ad hoc, and only consist of charitable acts. They are based on what the company voluntarily chooses to address.
In contrast, respecting human rights is not a voluntary undertaking. It requires commitment from businesses. A human rights framework provides a universally recognized, people-centred approach to business’s social and environmental impacts. In order to expected to implement policies to prevent and address the potential and actual negative effects of its activities.
How has the United Nation addressed business and human rights?
The United Nations Secretary-General launched the voluntary Global Compact in 2000, a global platform which convenes businesses together with UN agencies, labour, and civil society in support of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption. In 2005 the United Nations Commission on Human Rights (replaced by the Human Rights Council in 2006) appointed a Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, Professor John Ruggie. He was mandated to identify and clarify standards of corporate responsibility and accountability regarding human rights, including the role of States. The Special Representative proposed the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” policy framework that the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously welcomed in 2008. This framework consists of three pillars:
The State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business enterprises, through policies, regulation, and adjudication.
The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means that business enterprises should act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address the adverse impacts of their activities; and
the need for greater access to remedy for victims of business-related abuse, both judicial and non-judicial.
What are the Guiding Principles?
They are set of 31 standards to support the implementation of the United Nation “Protect, Respect and Remedy” policy framework. They are based on the three “Protect, Respect and Remedy” pillars. They are the product of six years of research and extensive consultations involving governments, businesses enterprises and associations, civil society, affected individuals and communities, and investors. They highlight what steps States should take to foster business’s respect for human rights; provide a blueprint for businesses to become aware and demonstrate to others that they respect human rights and reduce the risk of causing or contributing to human rights harm; and constitute a set of benchmarks for stakeholders to assess business’ respect for human rights. They also stipulate what both States and business enterprise should do to enhance access to effective remedies for those whose rights have been harmed.
What is the “status” of the Guiding Principles?
On 16 June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles (resolution 17/4). While not a legally binding document, this endorsement established the Guiding Principles as the authoritative global reference point for business and human rights.
When it endorsed the Guiding Principles, the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/17/4, para. 6) also established a Working Group on business and human rights (composed of five independent experts) to promote the implementation of the Guiding Principles, as well as an annual forum on business and human rights under the guidance of the Working Group.