About business and human rights
States are obligated under international human rights law to protect against human rights abuse within their territory and/or jurisdiction by third parties, including business enterprises. Even if States do not fulfill their obligations, all business enterprises are expected to respect human rights, meaning they should avoid infringing on the human rights of others, and should address adverse human rights impacts with which they are involved. If abuses occur, victims must have access to effective remedy through judicial and non-judicial grievance mechanisms.
OHCHR's work on business and human rights
OHCHR leads the business and human rights agenda within the UN system.
OHCHR develops guidance and training relating to the dissemination and implementation of the
UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights for States, business, civil society, and other relevant stakeholders. This means:
The office is currently engaging in a number of major initiatives on priority topics and geographic areas:
United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)
The UNGPs are the global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity, and they provide the internationally-accepted framework for enhancing standards and practices with regard to business and human rights. The Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles in its
resolution 17/4 of 16 June 2011.
Frequently Asked Questions on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
This publication explains the background and the contents of the UNGPs and how they relate to the broader human rights system and other frameworks. It aims to help both practitioners and newcomers to navigate and understand the Guiding Principles.
The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: An Interpretive Guide
This interpretive guide focuses on the Guiding Principles that address the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. It was developed in full collaboration with the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
Latest reports and resources
OHCHR response to request from Danwatch for advice regarding the application of the UNGPs in the context of the export of military software (2021)
Enforcement of Mandatory Due Diligence: Key Design Considerations for Administrative Supervision (2021) (joint policy paper of
OHCHR submission on the Third Revised Draft of the legally binding instrument to regulate in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises (2021)
OHCHR response to request from BankTrack and OECD Watch for advice regarding the application of the UNGPs where private sector banks act as nominee shareholders (2021)
OHCHR Recommendations to the European Commission regarding the EU Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Directive (2021)
Bridging Governance Gaps in the Age of Technology – Key Characteristics of the State Duty to Protect (2021)
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