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


Guiding principles on Business and Human RightsIn June 2011 at its seventeenth session, (in resolution A/HRC/17/4), the Human Rights Council decided to establish a Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, consisting of five independent experts, of balanced geographical representation, for a period of three years.

It requested the Working Group:

  • 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.

In June 2014 at its twenty-sixth session (in resolution 26/22), the Human Rights Council decided to extend the Working Group's mandate for a period of three years.

Forum on Business and Human Rights

Annual ForumThe annual UN Forum on Business and Human Rights is the largest global gathering on business and human rights. It takes place in Geneva, Switzerland. The 2014 Forum was held from 1 to 3 December. The 2015 Forum will be held from 16 to 18 November 2015. It is open to States, business enterprises and associations, civil society organisations, trade unions, victims, academics, students, the media and any other relevant stakeholder. Please see the webpage of the Forum for further information.

Dates of the 2017 sessions of the Working Group

  • 16th session: Geneva, 13-17 February 2017

During the session, the Working Group will convene separate meetings with States, Business Associations, and Civil Society Organisations in Palais des Nations, room VII (A building, 3rd floor). These are not open to the general public:

  • States: Thursday 16 February 2017 (15:00-16:00)
  • Civil society organisations: Thursday 16 February 2017 (16:00-17:00)
  • Business Associations: Thursday 16 February 2017 (17:00-18:00)

Stakeholders may also attend the meeting with civil society organisations and the meeting with business associations by tele-conference. Please email registrationwgbusiness@ohchr.org for dial-in details.

Stakeholders may also submit written input to: wg-business@ohchr.org

Stakeholders that already have a valid badge to enter Palais des Nations are invited to send a simple email with their name and organisation, confirming attendance, to registrationwgbusiness@ohchr.org.

Representatives without an identification badge from UNOG or UNHQ, should submit the name of the organisation/agency that they represent and their full name to registrationwgbusiness@ohchr.org by Friday 10 February 2017.


Working Group's thematic report to General Assembly, 71st session, now available: Focus: Impacts of agribusiness on local communities
English | French | Spanish | Russian | Arabic | Chinese

Working Group's statement to Human Rights Council, 32nd session

Working Group’s thematic report to Human Rights Council, 32nd session, is now available. Focus: State-owned enterprises
English | French | Spanish | Russian | Arabic | Chinese

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Working Group Members

Mr. Michael Addo
(Ghana), since 2011
(Chair from 1 January 2017)

Mr. Surya Deva 
(India), since 2016

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