Collaborative Learning to Strengthen Human Rights in the Oil and Gas Sector
The global oil and gas industry association for environmental and social issues, IPIECA, launched its Business and Human Rights Project in June 2011. The project is a three-year initiative aimed at capturing collective experience and practical know-how of IPIECA members in the area of human rights and business, with a special emphasis on due diligence and grievance mechanisms.
The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) attended the first collaborative learning workshop on due diligence that took place in New York October 20th 2011. The focus of this conference was to promote continuous improvement in corporate impact assessment processes through the sharing of technical insights and experiences from across the oil and gas industry.
'DIHR welcomes the initiative IPIECA is taking in this area and we are very pleased to be able to contribute with our expertise. Over the years DIHR has engaged with a number oil and gas majors on an individual basis. This is a good opportunity to consolidate the learnings for the benefit of human rights practices across the entire oil and gas sector', says Senior Advisor Allan Lerberg Jørgensen. 'Globally, the oil and gas sector has a significant human rights footprint, which is set to increase given the global energy scenario. It is important that all actors in the industry see this as a shared challenge and responsibility for the sector'.
Read more about the project in IPIECA's press release here.
Have your say! Help a new UN body ensure respect for human rights by business
The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights of the United Nations has just issued a press-release that encourages interested parties to submit proposals to the new UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights: “The UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises will take into account proposals by all relevant actors in advance of its first session (16-20 January 2012), during which its five independent experts will determine the Group’s key thematic priorities and activities.”- OHCHR, Geneva, 2 November 2011
African NHRIs Take Action on Human Rights and Business
The Network of African National Human Rights Institutions (NANHRI) held its first Regional Workshop on Business and Human Rights in Yaoundé, Cameroon, September 29th to October 1st 2011. The workshop was hosted by the National Commission on Human Rights and Freedoms of Cameroon in cooperation with the International Coordinating Committee of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights, and the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights.
The workshop’s main objective was to promote and strengthen the effective measures by African NHRIs in advancing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights using their mandate. The specific objectives included sharing of experiences, challenges and good practice on the work of African human rights institutions in business and human rights.
As a result of the workshop a three year plan of action was developed. The plan included goals aimed at capacity-building of individual NHRIs concerning business and human rights; human rights education, outreach and sensitization with relevant stakeholders and integrating human rights and business issues into strategic planning and programmes of each NHRI.
The Workshop was the first of four Regional Workshops of NHRIs to be held in the coming months, in line with the ICC’s Edinburgh Declaration.
Claire Methven O’Brien, Senior Adviser at DIHR’s Human Rights and Business Department and member of the ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights represented the ICC Working Group in Yaounde and helped to draft the NANHRI action plan.
‘The three year action plan of the Network of African National Human Rights Institutions is a major milestone in promoting regional cooperation of NHRIs on human rights and business. The action plan sets ambitious yet targeted and achievable goals that will help to promote respect for human rights in the corporate sector in Africa – for which there is an urgent need. ’ said Claire Methven O’Brien.
Read the NANHRI plan of action here.
Read the Edinburgh Declaration here.
For further information, contact Human Rights Advisor Claire Methven O’Brien, cob [at] humanrights.dk.
United Nations Appoints DIHR Expert Margaret Jungk to New Working Group on Business and Human Rights
The United Nations Human Rights Council has appointed a United Nations Working Group on business and human rights, including amongst its members Dr. Margaret Jungk, Director of the Human Rights and Business Department at the Danish Institute for Human Rights.
Following in the pioneering footsteps of former UN Special Representative on business and human rights (SRSG), Harvard University Professor John Ruggie, the new ‘Working Group on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises’ is vested with a 3-year global mandate to implement and disseminate the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights, as endorsed unanimously in June this year by the Human Rights Council in Geneva.
As one of 5 members of the new Working Group, Dr. Jungk will devote her time to promoting the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights, including by identifying and promoting good practices for the management of human rights by companies, and by advising governments on the development of domestic legislation and policies relating to business and human rights.
“I am very pleased to have been chosen as a member of a new UN body that offers a momentous opportunity to advance business respect for human rights. Business and human rights are mutually dependent – improved management of human rights by the private sector will contribute significantly to the advancement and sustainability not only of society, but also of business itself”, said Dr. Jungk.
“Some enterprises already do a lot to reduce their adverse impacts on human rights but others still need guidance and support. I will focus my efforts in the Working Group on clarifying how companies and governments should best implement the UN Guiding Principles, and in promoting good practices for how the private sector and the state can work constructively together to ensure business respect for rights”, said Dr. Jungk.
In establishing the new Working Group, the United Nations Human Rights Council emphasized that transnational corporations and other business enterprises have a responsibility to respect human rights, and recognized that the effective implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on human rights and business will contribute to a “socially sustainable globalization”.
As a founding figure of the business and human rights field, Dr. Jungk has led the Human Rights and Business focused work of the Danish Institute for Human Rights since 1999. The Danish Institute has worked on enhancing respect for human rights with 17 of the Fortune 500 companies, as well as numerous smaller business enterprises, employers associations, civil society and human rights organizations and state institutions. The approaches to human rights management developed by the Danish Institute have been applied in more than 200 companies, in the extractive, apparel, agriculture, pharmaceutical and financial sectors. The Institute has forged a number of partnerships and capacity-building programs on business and human rights with human rights organizations and national human rights institutions around the world. The Danish Institute is confident that Dr. Jungk’s proven track record of pragmatism and passion for the field will serve her well during her tenure in this new United Nations mandate.
More about the human rights and business work of the Danish Institute for Human Rights here.
For further information contact the Human Rights and Business Department at business[at] humanrights.dk.
DIHR: First to raise Guiding Principles with UN Human Rights Committee
The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) has become the first to raise the new UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights with the UN Human Rights Committee.
Last week, DIHR gave its recommendations to the UN Human Rights Committee on issues to be included to the List of Issues Prior to Report, a new format for periodic state reporting under the UN's International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR).
DIHR's submission to the Human Rights Committee raised a number of major human rights issues in Denmark as deserving examination by the Committee.
Amongst these, DIHR recommended that the Danish Government should provide the Human Rights Committee with information on what measures it plans to take to ensure that corporations comply with human rights standards, as recently defined by the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011.
Claire Methven O'Brien, Adviser, said:
"The UN Human Rights Council's unanimous support for the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights was a very important step towards greater accountability for human rights impacts of corporate activities. But a key challenge now is to integrate the standards contained in the Guiding Principles into existing processes of monitoring and review of states within the UN and regional human rights systems.
Given our longstanding work on business and human rights issues, and our leadership of the ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, DIHR was very pleased to have the chance to be the first to raise the UN Guiding Principles with the Human Rights Committee, under the new LOIPR procedure."
"To support a clear and systematic consideration of Denmark's responsibilities under the UN Guiding Principles, insofar as relevant to the ICCPR, later this year, DIHR will be launching a project to develop an ICCPR reporting checklist on business and human rights issues. The checklist will made up of indicators based on the Guiding Principles, for each human right protected by ICCPR. We hope this checklist will be a useful tool for other NHRIs, as well as governments and NGOs, who are interested in raising human rights and business issues through the UN treaty monitoring process."
Read DIHR's full list of recommendations for the List of Issues Prior to Report here.
The List of Issues Prior to Report is a new approach to periodic reporting under the ICCPR, intended to make the Human Rights Committee's review process more effective, efficient, and less burdensome for states. Denmark is one of the first group of countries to volunteer to use the LOIPR procedure, in preparation for its review by the Human Rights Committee in 2013.
For further information, contact Human Rights Advisor Claire Methven O’Brien, cob [at] humanrights.dk.
Margaret Jungk: Candidate for new UN Human Rights Working Group on Human Rights and Business
Dr. Margaret Jungk, Director of the Human Rights and Business Department at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, is applying for a seat in the UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises. The Working Group is being established to follow up on the work of the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, Professor John Ruggie, whose mandate expired this year. Established by the UN Human Rights Council, the 5-member Working Group will focus on operationalizing the UN Guiding Principles on Human Rights and Business, endorsed by the Human Rights Council in June.
In describing her reasons for seeking appointment to the Working Group, Margaret Jungk highlights its importance for the future development of the human rights and business field:
“I believe the new Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises offers a tremendous and historically unique opportunity to advance the human rights field in the business arena. Applied in the right manner, international human rights principles and rights-based approaches to the private sector will contribute significantly to the advancement and sustainability of both society and business.”
Margaret Jungk established the Human Rights and Business Department at the Danish Institute for Human Rights in 1999. During the last 12 years the department has partnered with several fortune 500 companies, governments, other National Human Rights institutions and civil society actors, innovating landmark tools, such as the Human Rights Compliance Assessment, and practical approaches to address impacts of business on human rights.
Margaret has been formally nominated as a candidate with the full support of the Danish Institute for Human Rights. In addition, Margaret Jungk’s track record of experience, pragmatism and passion for the field have attracted support for her candidacy from important stakeholders, including Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Office, Morten Kj?rum, Director the European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights and Ed Potter, US Employer Delegate to the ILO and Director of Workplace Rights at The Coca-Cola Company.
Appointment of members of the new UN Working Group is expected by September 2011.
For further details about the Margaret Jungk, her candidacy and the Human Rights and Business Department please contact Katja Tolstrup kto[at]humanrights.dk.
UN Human Rights Council affirms NHRI mandate on business and human rights
In its Resolution 17/4 adopted on 10 June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council has explicitly affirmed the mandate of NHRIs to work on business and human rights issues.
This important support from the UN Human Rights Council for NHRIs to address corporate human rights responsibilities followed in line with the statement delivered to the Council by the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of NHRIs, which focussed on the vital role of NHRIs promoting all three pillars of the UN's Protect Respect Remedy framework.
In the statement, the ICC
- Pillar 1 - highlights NHRIs’ mandate to review the fulfilment by the State of its duty to protect against corporate human rights abuses, under Pillar 1- State Duty to Protect
- Pillar 2 - Business Responsibility to Respect: draws attention to the ability of NHRIs to supply expert advice and guidance to business on human rights issues, and
- Pillar 3 - Access to Remedy: affirms that NHRIs’ may offer non-judicial grievance mechanisms for actual or threatened abuses in the corporate sector.
In its 2010 Edinburgh Declaration, the ICC voiced NHRIs' collective committment to strengthening their capacities to enable them to fulfil all aspects of the mandate regarding business and human rights.
The 2011 ICC's statement to the Human Rights Council urged both the Council and individual states to do more to actively support NHRIs in meeting their human rights and business responsibilities and goals.
Next steps for Business and Human Rights at the UN
In July 2011, DIHR’s Claire Methven O’Brien attended a two-day expert dialogue on business and human rights. The dialogue meeting was convened by the Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung (FES), the UN Office of High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB).
The starting point for the meeting was the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human rights, endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011.
Participants from trade unions, NGOs, indigenous peoples' organisations, NHRIs and businesss considered how these new standards can now mainstreamed - in business activities, government policies and in the human rights monitoring and promotion activities undertaken via the UN human rights system.
Claire Methven O’Brien highlighted the central role of NHRIs in operationalisating the Guiding Principles at national level:
“NHRIs are uniquely placed to contribute to promoting respect for human rights by business by using the UN's human rights mechanisms. NHRIs can raise important issues in their contributions to the periodic review of country performance under UN treaties, and also via the Human Rights Council's Universal Periodic Review.
In 2012, the Danish Institute for Human Rights will leading a new project to develop benchmarks to support NHRIs to integrate business and human rights issues into these processes in a systematic and comprehensive fashion. We hope this project will help to accelerate uptake of the new Guiding Principles at national level - and so promote their value as a tool for securing corporate accountabilty.”
In October 2010, NHRIs from across the world convened in Edinburgh, Scotland, to discuss the role of NHRIs in the human rights and business area. The ICC's Edinburgh Declaration, adopted during the conference, clearly signals NHRIs' commitment to stepping up work on business and human rights - as well as highlighting the need for NHRI capacity building in this area. As Claire Methven O’Brien explains:
“There is an urgent need for specialised training materials, tools and experience-sharing to assist NHRIs. Many NHRIs face severe constraints on financial and human resources, limiting their ability to act on human rights and business issues - even where human rights abuses by corporate actors are acute.
NHRIs stand on a unique spot between national government, civil society, business, international institutions - and rights-holders. So they have huge potential to contribute to effective respect for human rights in the market sphere, for example, by responding quickly to reports of corporate abuses with actions targeted to duty-bearers on both the state and business sides, but also with assistance to affected communities and, in the longer-range, with public education or legislative reform proposals, that can help to address root causes."
The ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, which DIHR has chaired for the last two years, aims to support NHRIs towards fulfilling this potential. Currently, we are developing business and human rights training materials, based on the UN Paris Principles mandate of NHRIs, which we hope to launch, with support from the UN OHCHR, during 2012.”
UNGC Local Networks and NHRIs – Partnering for Human Rights
DIHR contributed to an important discussion of opportunities for collaboration between National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) and UNGC Local Networks at the UNGC Annual Local Networks Forum held in Copenhagen on 19 May.
The knowledge-sharing session was co-organised by DIHR, in its capacity as Chair of the Working Group on Business and Human Rights of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of NHRIs, and the German UNGC Local Network.
Entitled ‘Partnering for human rights: Case studies and best practices’, the session included three case studies of coordination and mutual support between NHRIs and UNGC Local Networks from Denmark, Australia and the Republic of Korea. The session was facilitated by Pierre Saine, Chair of the UN Global Compact (UNGC) Human Rights Working Group.
The ICC Working Group is currently preparing an Briefing Note on opportunities for NHRIs and UNGC Local Networks to engage in coordinated activities, which will be published in early autumn 2011.
For further information, contact Claire Methven O’Brien, Coordinator, ICC Working Group on Human Rights and Business (cob [at] humanrights.dk).
Report published: Informal Expert Meeting on the OECD Guidelines for MNEs
On 25 January 2011, an Informal Expert Meeting on human rights issues was held as part of the review of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to inform state delegates regarding human rights issues raised by the review.
The meeting was organized by the Human Rights and Business Working Group of the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Human Rights Institutions, which is chaired by DIHR, in coordination with the International Commission of Jurists and Amnesty International.
Rosslyn Noonan, Chairperson of the ICC, and Chair of the New Zealand Human Rights Commission addressed the meeting regarding the role of NHRIs in supporting implementation of the OECD Guidelines.
Prof. James Anaya, UN Special Rapporteur on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, spoke to state delegates regarding indigenous peoples' rights as affirmed by international human rights standards, the need for more specific guidance on indigenous peoples' rights in the OECD Guidelines, including on the principle of Free, Prior and Informed Consent.
Marta Mauras, Member of the UN Committee on the Rights of the Child, highlighted the specific impacts of corporate activities on children's human rights, including but not limited to the right to be protected against child labour.
Dr. Claire Methven O'Brien, Coordinator of the ICC Working Group on Human Rights and Business, and Adviser at DIHR's Human Rights and Business Department, who also took part in the Meeting, said:
"This meeting was important in highlighting to OECD states how corporate activities can impact profoundly on specific categories of rights-holders.
The OECD Guidelines need to do more to draw companies' attention to risks of adverse affects on groups at risk of exploitation and discrimination, such as children and indigenous peoples.
In line with their responsibilities under UN treaties, national governments of OECD countries must do more, in particular via National Contact Points, to inform companies of their human rights responsibilities under the Guidelines - and to handle properly any complaints received."
The ICC Working Group on Human Rights and Business has made two submissions to the 2010-11 review of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, both submissions are described and attached in the artcles below.
Under the UN Paris Principles, the mandate of National Human Rights Institutions includes human rights and business. The ICC's Edinburgh Declaration affirms NHRIs commitment towards capacity building and greater effectiveness of NHRI activities on business and human rights.
Read the report here:
For further information on the ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, contact Claire Methven O’Brien, coordinator: COB [AT] humanrights.dk.
Human Rights and Business Strategy 2011-2015
The Human Rights and Business Department has released a strategy defining its renewed mission and key activities from 2011-2015
The Human Rights and Business Strategy 2011-2015 begins with the Business Department’s overall objective of improving the human rights practices of private-sector actors worldwide. From this basis, the strategy defines a vision, mission and a series of activities undertaken by the department in the next four years to capitalize on the unprecedented opportunities faced by the field of business and human rights.
The strategy defines five Key Result Areas, each representing an area of expertise where the Business Department aims to expand and develop in collaboration with other key human rights and business actors:
- Corporate Engagement: Enable companies to mainstream human rights commitment and compliance.
- Knowledge Base and Innovation: Develop concepts, methodologies and tools to improve practices in businesses.
- International Frameworks and Agenda Setting: Support the inclusion of private-sector impacts in international frameworks.
- Capacity Building of State and Civil Society: Assist governments, public bodies and civil society to address private-sector impacts.
- NHRI Work: Utilize our role as Denmark’s National Human Rights Institution to contribute to the domestic business agenda and the international NHRI agenda.
The Strategy 2011-2015 describes each Key Result Area in detail, alongside specific initiatives planned by the Business Department throughout the strategy period.
For more information, contact Cathrine Poulsen-Hansen: CPH [AT] humanrights.dk.
Download The Human Rights and Business Strategy 2011-2015
Rio Tinto partners with DIHR on Human Rights
Rio Tinto and the Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) have signed a three-year agreement to collaborate on developing and promoting human rights tools for international businesses and on further enhancing Rio Tinto’s global human rights policies.
Under the agreement, Rio Tinto will provide support for the expansion of the DIHR’s Human Rights and Business Country Portal, a freely available website that helps businesses identify, assess and address human rights risks in specific countries. The DIHR will also develop bespoke country risk assessments and advice to Rio Tinto on countries in which it operates or plans to operate.
Tom Albanese, Rio Tinto’s chief executive, said, "Rio Tinto's commitment to human rights has always been an integral part of our code of conduct, The Way We Work. While we have done much good work in this area, we need to constantly keep our policy and practices under review to ensure that we continue to improve our performance. Working with experts in the field is an essential part of this and our partnership with the DIHR will provide us with further insight into specific human rights challenges.”
“DIHR engages with all actors to promote and develop knowledge of human rights,” said DIHR Director Jonas Christoffersen. “Our partnership with Rio Tinto will allow us to engage with important human rights challenges. This is an opportunity for us to promote human rights in the many countries where Rio Tinto operates as well as in the global mining and metals industry,” he added.
About Rio Tinto
Rio Tinto is a leading international mining group headquartered in the UK, combining Rio Tinto plc, a London and NYSE listed company, and Rio Tinto Limited, which is listed on the Australian Securities Exchange.
Rio Tinto's business is finding, mining, and processing mineral resources. Major products are aluminium, copper, diamonds, energy (coal and uranium), gold, industrial minerals (borax, titanium dioxide, salt, talc) and iron ore. Activities span the world but are strongly represented in Australia and North America with significant businesses in South America, Asia, Europe and southern Africa.
About the Danish Institute for Human Rights
The Danish Institute for Human Rights (DIHR) is an independent National Human Rights Institution established by an act of Danish Parliament in 1987 and modeled in accordance with the UN Paris Principles.
The chief objective of DIHR is to promote and develop knowledge about human rights on a national, regional and international basis, predicated on the belief that human rights are universal, mutually interdependent and interrelated. Since 1999, DIHR has become a leader in addressing the impacts of the private-sector, and has conducted projects with transnational corporations worldwide.
For further information, please contact:
Rio Tinto Media Relations
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1152
Mobile: +44 (0)7920 503 600
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1138
Mobile: +44 (0) 7920 041 003
Office: +44 (0) 20 7781 1154
Mobile: +44 (0) 7825 275 605
DIHR Media Relations
Martin Lassen Vernal
Office: +45 3269 8927
Mobile: +45 4057 8788
Key role of NHRIs highlighted by UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The final version of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights of the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights (Prof. John Ruggie) have been published.
The Guiding Principles seek to establish global standards for preventing and addressing corporate human rights abuses.
Following months of advocacy by the International Coordinating Committee of National Human Rights Institutions, the final version of the Guiding Principles now highlights that National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are key actors in building respect for human rights in the business sphere.
The Guiding Principles are built around three pillars:
- Pillar I: the state duty to protect against corporate human rights abuses
- Pillar II: corporations’ responsibility to respect human rights
- Pillar III: the right to a remedy for victims of any business-related human rights abuses.
While the previous draft Guiding Principles, published in November 2010, referred to NHRIs only in relation to the third pillar, the revised version now underlines
NHRIs’ contribution to the achievement of all three pillars of the framework.
The Working Group on Business and Human Rights helped to lead advocacy by the International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of NHRIs to clarify how NHRIs’ mandate, under the UN Paris Principles applied to the UN Special Representative’s 3-pillar approach.
Claire Methven O’Brien, Coordinator, of the ICC Working Group, said:
“All over the world, NHRIs can contribute to achieving business respect for human rights through their engagement with governments and public bodies, and directly with companies - as well as by supporting victims.
“The Guiding Principles’ recognition of this provides a strong platform for the essential capacity-building work that is needed, so that all NHRIs are empowered to fulfill that critical role.
She added “This is a positive outcome for NHRIs, and we appreciate the supportive submissions by those other stakeholders, in civil society and government, that helped us achieve it.”
The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights will be considered by the UN Human Rights Council at its upcoming session in May.
For further information on the ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, contact Claire Methven O’Brien, coordinator: COB [AT] humanrights.dk.
Human Rights Compliance Assessment Updated with New Content, Features
DIHR has added new features and content to the Human Rights Compliance Assessment (HRCA), the most comprehensive tool for measuring company practice against international human rights standards.
The HRCA is a self-assessment tool for companies to ensure that they conduct due diligence to avoid infringing on the human rights of employees, customers and communities. The HRCA was originally launched in 2005, and was comprehensively updated in May 2010. This update followed a two-year process to incorporate user experiences from more than 60 company and institutional users around the world.
The 2011 update to the HRCA incorporates further feedback from HRCA users and ongoing normative developments in the human rights and business field.
The HRCA has been updated with new checklists for full access users that respond to the priorities and challenges of its wide range of users. This includes sector-specific checklists such as the Extractive Sector Checklist and the Human Rights Assessment for Pharmaceutical Companies. A new checklist relating to company housing has also been published.
In addition, the scope of the HRCA core checklist has been updated to include new questions on security arrangements; contractors and suppliers; and legal and government affairs.
Two new programming functionalities have been introduced to the HRCA.
Build a Checklist Using Specialized Checks: Users can now generate customized checklists based on any pre-existing checklist available in the user’s account.
Updated User Structure: HRCA users can now manage the tool across a large organization, including subsidiaries. The new user structure consist of three user levels: Company Administrator (e.g. the human rights focal point at company headquarters), Assessment Coordinator (e.g. a human rights focal point in a company subsidiary) and Company User (e.g. a manager or staff member in a company subsidiary)
The updates are available to HRCA subscribers as of 15 March 2011. A detailed log of the changes is available to subscribers upon request.
For more information about the HRCA, contact Dylan Tromp: DTR [AT] humanrights.dk.
New Submission by NHRIs to the OECD Guidelines Review
The International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) today made a further submission to the current review of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.
The OECD Guidelines are a set of recommendations directed by governments to multinational enterprises. They call for corporations to meet minimum standards on human rights, labour, environmental and corruption issues.
The ICC identifies key human rights issues the OECD still needs to address in the review. These include stronger protection for indigenous peoples’ rights, the scope of human rights protection, and stronger follow-up in cases where corporate abuses are identified.
The ICC also urges the OECD to acknowledge the role of NHRIs in promoting respect for human rights by multinational enterprises.
Developed by the ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, today’s intervention also calls for greater transparency and inclusiveness in the OECD Guidelines review process. The ICC states its concern that public access to negotiating texts is needed to ensure a full and open discussion amongst stakeholders – and a credible outcome to the review process.
“The human rights component of the OECD Guidelines needs to be strengthened – as well as being made more user-friendly – if the Guidelines are to become an effective corporate accountability tool”, said Claire Methven O'Brien, Coordinator, ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights. “The Guidelines also need to recognize the potential of national human rights institutions to build respect for human rights by MNEs”.
Read the ICC's second submission the OECD Guidelines review here.
For further information on the ICC WG on Business and Human Rights, contact Claire Methven O’Brien, Coordinator (cob[at]humanrights.dk).
ICC submission to the UN draft Guiding Principles
The International Coordinating Committee (ICC) of National Institutions for the Promotion and Protection of Human Rights (NHRIs) has presented its view of the draft Guiding Principles for the implementation of the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework.
The ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights, which is chaired by the Danish Institute for Human Rights, asked NHRIs worldwide to contribute their views on the Guiding Principles in order to uncover the perceived utility and practicality of the recommendations.
The ICC submission highlights the extensive and important work done by the UN Secretary General's Special Representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations, John Ruggie. This work has served as a platform for continuing dialogue and stronger cooperation among relevant actors on the issue of human rights and business. The submission highlights the need for additional dialogue and refinement in order to secure the ongoing strengthening and support of the Guiding Principles by broad consensus.
The ICC also voices concern surrounding the establishment of adequately resourced follow-up mechanisms at the end of Ruggie’s mandate in June 2011. NHRIs play an important role in addressing the negative and positive impacts of business activities. The ICC submission recommends that the Guiding Principles should be amended to reflect more strongly this role. It also recommends future capacity building work to support NHRIs worldwide in fulfilling their unique role and potential to promote all three pillars of the UN Framework.
For further information, contact Claire Methven O'Brien, Coordinator, ICC Working Group on Business and Human Rights (cob[at]humanrights.dk).