Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Overview

Guiding principles on Business and Human Rights

The Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (also referred to as the Working Group on Business and Human Rights) was established by the Human Rights Council in 2011 (resolution 17/4). The Working Group is composed of five independent experts, of balanced geographical representation. The Council renewed the Working Group’s mandate in 2014 (resolution 26/22) and 2017 (resolution 35/7).

As set out in resolution 17/4, the Working Group has a mandate:

  • To promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework;
  • To identify, exchange and promote good practices and lessons learned on the implementation of the Guiding Principles and to assess and make recommendations thereon and, in that context, to seek and receive information from all relevant sources, including Governments, transnational corporations and other business enterprises, national human rights institutions, civil society and rights-holders;
  • To provide support for efforts to promote capacity-building and the use of the Guiding Principles, as well as, upon request, to provide advice and recommendations regarding the development of domestic legislation and policies relating to business and human rights;
  • To conduct country visits and to respond promptly to invitations from States;
  • To continue to explore options and make recommendations at the national, regional and international levels for enhancing access to effective remedies available to those whose human rights are affected by corporate activities, including those in conflict areas;
  • To integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate and to give special attention to persons living in vulnerable situations, in particular children;
  • To work in close cooperation and coordination with other relevant special procedures of the Human Rights Council, relevant United Nations and other international bodies, the treaty bodies and regional human rights organizations;
  • To develop a regular dialogue and discuss possible areas of cooperation with Governments and all relevant actors, including relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, funds and programmes, in particular the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Global Compact, the International Labour Organization, the World Bank and its International Finance Corporation, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Organization for Migration, as well as transnational corporations and other business enterprises, national human rights institutions, representatives of indigenous peoples, civil society organizations and other regional and subregional international organizations;
  • To guide the work of the Forum on Business and Human Rights;
  • To report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

Moreover, in its resolution, 35/7, the Council requested the Working Group:

  • To give due consideration to the implementation of the Guiding Principles in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Forum on Business and Human Rights

Annual ForumThe UN Forum established by the Human Rights Council on 2011, has become the world's largest global gathering on business and human rights. The three-day conference is held annually in Geneva, normally in November.

As the Human Rights Council specifies in its resolution 17/4, the Forum serves as a key global platform for stakeholders to ”discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights.” It is open to States, business enterprises and associations, civil society organisations, trade unions, victims, academics, students, the media and any other relevant stakeholder.

The Forum is guided by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Moreover, as of 2017 (resolution 35/7), Working Group also has a mandate “to chair the Forum and submit a report on the proceedings and thematic recommendations of the Forum for consideration by the Human Rights Council”.

Please see the webpage of the Forum for further information.

More press releases and statements...

Archived news
(over 3 years old)

Working Group Members

Mr. Michael Addo
(Ghana), since 2011

Mr. Surya Deva 
(India), since 2016
(Chair from 1 July 2017)

Mr. Dante Pesce 
(Chile), since 2015

Ms. Anita Ramasastry 
(USA), since 2016

Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga
(Russian Federation), since 2011

Former Members

Ms. Margaret Jungk
(USA), 2011-2016

Ms. Alexandra Guaqueta
(Colombia), 2011-2015

Mr. Puvan Selvanathan
(Malaysia), 2011-2015

Contact

wg-business@ohchr.org