United Nations Reports on Business and Human Rights

This section includes reports on business and human rights developed by the United Nations Secretary General, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises, and High Commissioner for Human Rights. For reports by the United Nations Working Group on Business and Human Rights, please visit the Working Group's report webpage.

Body / Session

Year

Title and additional information

Symbol number

HRC 44th session

2020

Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse through non-State-based grievance mechanisms
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: Pursuant to the request by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 38/13, this report sets out recommended action to improve accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses through non-State-based grievance mechanisms. The report explains the scope and methodology of the work, makes comments as to the potential uses of the report and makes general observations about the role of non-State-based grievance mechanisms in achieving accountability and access to remedy. It includes an annex containing a set of recommended policy objectives for States and relevant non-State actors, supported by a series of elements intended to demonstrate the different ways in which those objectives may be met in practice. The report, annex, and separate addendum comprise the outcome of the third phase of OHCHR's Accountability and Remedy Project (ARP III).

A/HRC/44/32

HRC 44th session

2020

Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse through non-State-based grievance mechanisms: explanatory notes
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: This addendum is a companion document to the ARP III report and provides background, definitions, examples and contextual information with respect to the policy objectives and supporting elements found in the annex to that report.

A/HRC/44/32/Add.1 (English only)

HRC 38th session

2018

Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse through State-based non-judicial mechanisms
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: Pursuant to the request by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 32/10, this report sets out recommended action to improve accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses through State-based non-judicial mechanisms. In the report, the High Commissioner explains the scope of the work involved and the approach taken by OHCHR, and makes general observations about the role of State-based non-judicial mechanisms in achieving accountability and access to remedy in business and human rights cases. The report includes an annex containing a set of recommended “policy objectives” for States, supported by a series of elements intended to demonstrate the different ways that States can work towards meeting those objectives. The report, annex, and separate addendum comprise the outcome of the second phase of OHCHR's Accountability and Remedy Project (ARP II).

A/HRC/38/20

HRC 38th session

2018

Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse through State-based non-judicial mechanisms: explanatory notes to final report
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: This addendum is a companion document to the ARP II report and explains key concepts and the main findings emerging from ARP II in further detail. Additionally, this document includes a model terms of reference that can be used by States to review the effectiveness of their relevant non-judicial mechanisms.

A/HRC/38/20/Add.1 (English only)

HRC 38th session

2018

Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse: The relevance of human rights due diligence to determinations of corporate liability
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: This report provides analysis and clarification of the relationship between human rights due diligence and determinations of corporate liability. It is informed by discussions held during a 2017 consultation convened pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 32/10 and forms part of OHCHR's Accountability and Remedy Project.

A/HRC/38/20/Add.2 (English only)

HRC 32nd session

2016

Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: Pursuant to the request by the Human Rights Council in its resolution 26/22, this report sets out guidance to improve accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses through judicial mechanisms. The main report provides an introduction to the guidance, including an explanation of its scope, potential usage and important cross-cutting contextual issues. The guidance itself is provided in an annex, which takes the form of “policy objectives” for domestic legal responses, supported by a series of elements intended to demonstrate the different ways in which States can work towards meeting those objectives in practice. The report, annex, and separate addendum comprise the outcome of the first phase of OHCHR's Accountability and Remedy Project (ARP I).

A/HRC/32/19

HRC 32nd session

2016

Improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse: explanatory notes for guidance
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: This addendum is a companion document to the ARP I report and explains key legal concepts and the main findings emerging from ARP I in further detail. Additionally, this document includes a model terms of reference that can be used by States to review the effectiveness of domestic legal systems.

A/HRC/32/19/Add.1

HRC 26th session

2014

Challenges, strategies and developments with regard to the implementation of the resolution 21/5 by the United Nations system, including programmes, funds and agencies
Report of the Secretary-General
Summary: Pursuant to resolution 21/5, this report identifies developments, progress and challenges in advancing the business and human rights agenda within the United Nations system.

A/HRC/26/20

HRC 26th session

2014

Challenges, strategies and developments with regard to the implementation of the resolution 21/5 by the United Nations system, including programmes, funds and agencies
Addendum 1: Study on the feasibility of a global fund to enhance the capacity of stakeholders to implement the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
Report of the Secretary-General
Summary: This addendum presents the conclusions from a study carried out by OHCHR on the feasibility of a global fund to enhance the capacity of stakeholders to implement the Guiding Principles.

A/HRC/26/20/Add.1 (English only)

HRC 21st session

2012

Contribution of the United Nations system as a whole to the advancement of the business and human rights agenda and the dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
Report of the Secretary-General
Summary: This report, prepared pursuant to a request in Human Rights Council resolution 17/4, gives an overview of ongoing activities by entities and mechanisms in the United Nations system relevant to business and human rights. It identifies opportunities and provides recommendations for advancing the business and human rights agenda within the United Nations. It also makes recommendations for aligning the internal policies and practices of the United Nations with the Guiding Principles in order to manage risks and promote respect for human rights through its business relationships.

A/HRC/21/21

HRC 21st session

2012

Contribution of the United Nations system as a whole to the advancement of the business and human rights agenda and the dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
Corrigendum
Report of the Secretary-General
Summary: This corrigendum makes a correction to paragraph 76 in A/HRC/21/21.

A/HRC/21/21/Corr.1

HRC 17th session

2011

Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This is the final report of the Special Representative. It summarizes his work from 2005 to 2011, and presents the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework.”

A/HRC/17/31

HRC 17th session

2011

Addendum: Piloting principles for effective company/stakeholder grievance mechanisms: A report of lessons learned
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report sets out key lessons learned from a pilot project conducted in 2009-2010 to test the practical applicability of a set of effectiveness criteria for non-judicial grievance mechanisms.

A/HRC/17/31/Add.1

HRC 17th session

2011

Addendum: Human rights and corporate law: trends and observations from a cross-national study conducted by the Special Representative
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This paper summarizes overarching trends from the Special Representative’s Corporate Law project, which was an in-depth, multi-jurisdictional exploration of the links between corporate and securities law and human rights.

A/HRC/17/31/Add.2

HRC 17th session

2011

Addendum: Principles for responsible contracts: integrating the management of human rights risks into State-investor contract negotiations: guidance for negotiators
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report presents the Principles for Responsible Contracts, which are meant to help integrate the management of human rights risks into investment project contract negotiations between host State entities and foreign business investors. These principles are the product of four years of research and inclusive, multi-stakeholder dialogue carried out under the mandate of the Special Representative.

A/HRC/17/31/Add.3

HRC 17th session

2011

Business and human rights in conflict-affected regions: challenges and options towards State responses
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report outlines a range of policy options that home, host and neighboring States have, or could develop, to prevent and deter corporate-related human rights abuses in conflict contexts.

A/HRC/17/32

GA 65th session

2010

Human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report notes the consultative process that the Special Representative will pursue in elaborating the guiding principles, addresses some of the challenges posed by the issue of extraterritorial jurisdiction in the context of business and human rights, discusses the scope and application of the corporate responsibility to respect human rights in the supply chains of business enterprises, and provides an update on activities and developments related to the Special Representative’s work to promote the framework.

A/65/310

HRC 14th session

2010

Business and human rights: further steps toward the operationalization of the “protect, respect and remedy” framework
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This is a progress report of the Special Representative that illustrates his working methods in operationalizing and promoting the “protect, respect and remedy” framework and provides his thinking on the three pillars and the synergies among them.

A/HRC/14/27

HRC 14th session

2010

Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on her Office’s consultation on operationalizing the framework for business and human rights
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: Pursuant to Human Rights Council resolution 8/7, this report contains a summary of a two-day consultation that discussed ways and means to operationalize the “Protect, Respect, Remedy” framework on business and human rights put forward by the Special Representative.

A/HRC/14/29

HRC 14th session

2010

Report of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on her Office’s consultation on operationalizing the framework for business and human rights
Addendum: Summary of proceedings of side events to the consultation of the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on operationalizing the framework for business and human rights
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: This addendum provides summaries of the proceedings of several side events held in parallel to the consultation featured in A/HRC/14/29.

A/HRC/14/29/Add.1

GA 64th session

2009

Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report provides developments related to the Special Representative’s work, as well as an update on key meetings and outreach activities. It also notes that the reification of the categories of voluntary and mandatory approaches to business and human rights is an impediment to innovative thinking and action.

A/64/216

HRC 11th session

2009

Business and human rights: Towards operationalizing the “protect, respect and remedy” framework
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report recapitulates the key features of the “protect, respect and remedy” framework and outlines the strategic directions of the Special Representative’s work streams to date in operationalizing the framework.

A/HRC/11/13

HRC 11th session

2009

Addendum: State obligations to provide access to remedy for human rights abuses by third parties, including business: an overview of international and regional provisions, commentary and decisions
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report examines the scope of State obligations to provide access to remedy for third party abuse, including by business, under international and regional human rights treaties.

A/HRC/11/13/Add.1

GA 63rd session

2008

Human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report outlines the main components of the Protect, Respect and Remedy framework and discusses the anticipated work streams to be undertaken by the Special Representative in implementing his extended mandate from the Human Rights Council.

A/63/270

HRC 8th session

2008

Protect, Respect and Remedy: a Framework for Business and Human Rights
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report presents a conceptual and policy framework to anchor the business and human rights debate, and to help guide all relevant actors. The framework comprises three core principles: the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business; the corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and the need for more effective access to remedies. The three principles form a complementary whole in that each supports the others in achieving sustainable progress.

A/HRC/8/5

HRC 8th session

2008

Addendum: Summary of five multi-stakeholder consultations
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This addendum provides summaries of consultations that addressed the following issues: (a) the role of States in effectively regulating and adjudicating the activities of corporations with respect to human rights; (b) business and human rights in conflict zones: the role of home States; (c) the corporate responsibility to respect human rights; (d) accountability mechanisms for resolving corporate-related human rights complaints and disputes; and (e) improving the human rights performance of business through multi-stakeholder initiatives.

A/HRC/8/5/Add.1

HRC 8th session

2008

Addendum: Corporations and human rights: a survey of the scope and patterns of alleged corporate-related human rights abuse
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report summarizes the scope and patterns of alleged corporate-related human rights abuse found in a sample of 320 cases posted on the Business and Human Rights Resource Center web page from February 2005 to December 2007. An initial coding of cases showed that all industry sectors were alleged to impact human rights, and impacts were alleged to occur in all regions.

A/HRC/8/5/Add.2

HRC 8th session

2008

Clarifying the Concepts of “Sphere of influence” and “Complicity”
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: Responding to the request in paragraph 1 (c) of Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/69 to “research and clarify the implications for transnational corporations and other business enterprises of concepts such as ‘complicity’ and ‘sphere of influence’”, this companion report to A/HRC/8/5 explains how both concepts fit into the corporate responsibility to respect rights.

A/HRC/8/16

HRC 4th session

2007

Business and human rights: mapping international standards of responsibility and accountability for corporate acts
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report responds to various elements of paragraphs 1 (a) through (c) as well as 1 (e) of the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General as set out in resolution 2005/69 of the Commission on Human Rights: “to identify and clarify standards of corporate responsibility and accountability … with regard to human rights”; “to elaborate on the role of States in effectively regulating and adjudicating” business activities; “to research and clarify the implications … of concepts such as ‘complicity’”; and identify some prevailing if not “best” practices by States and companies. The four addenda to this report provide greater detail.

A/HRC/4/35

HRC 4th session

2007

Addendum: State responsibilities to regulate and adjudicate corporate activities under the United Nations core human rights treaties: an overview of treaty body commentaries
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This addendum outlines overall trends appearing from treaty-specific reports regarding obligations of States to regulate and adjudicate corporate activities, and makes preliminary observations as to how the treaty-based human rights machinery may be applied to further strengthen human rights protection and promotion in the context of corporate activity.

A/HRC/4/35/Add.1

HRC 4th session

2007

Addendum: Corporate responsibility under international law and issues in extraterritorial regulation: summary of legal workshops
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This addendum combines the summaries of two workshops. The New York workshop considered four issues: whether corporate responsibility for human rights already exists under international law; how State human rights obligations might otherwise be translated into corporate obligations; the problem of regulating TNCs in “weak governance zones”; and the extent to which States’ duty to protect against human rights abuses by non-State actors requires them to regulate the overseas activities of TNCs. The Brussels workshop focused on three areas of inquiry: clarifying the general international law principles governing the exercise of extraterritorial jurisdiction by States; specific questions raised by the regulation of the extraterritorial activities of TNCs; and the provision of effective sanctions against TNCs and remedies for victims.

A/HRC/4/35/Add.2

HRC 4th session

2007

Addendum: Human Rights Policies and Management Practices: Results from questionnaire surveys of Governments and Fortune Global 500 firms
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This addendum summarizes the responses to two surveys conducted by the Special Representative. One survey asked States to identify current practices of regulating, adjudicating, and otherwise influencing the role of corporations with respect to human rights. A second survey asked the Fortune Global 500 firms about their human rights policies and practices.

A/HRC/4/35/Add.3

HRC 4th session

2007

Addendum: Business recognition of human rights: Global patterns, regional and sectoral variations
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This addendum summarizes the human rights standards referenced or invoked in the policies of three types of business organization: a cross-section of more than 300 companies from all regions of the world; 8 collective initiatives; and 5 socially responsible investment (SRI) indices. For each of the three types, the Special Representative looked for indicators expressing or referencing rights included in the International Bill of Human Rights. Also examined was the issue of whether the prescribed policies and practices include accountability mechanisms for companies, such as reporting requirements; whether they hold the companies’ suppliers to any human rights standards; the extent to which they stipulate corporate engagement with external stakeholders; and the human rights instruments to which companies, collective initiatives, and SRI indices refer. Finally, policies concerning bribery and corruption were examined.

A/HRC/4/35/Add.4

HRC 4th session

2007

Human rights impact assessments - resolving key methodological questions
Report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This report describes principles and characteristics of human rights impact assessments for business, including similarities to environmental and social impact assessments, and provides updates on current initiatives.

A/HRC/4/74

HRC 4th session

2007

Report on the sectoral consultation entitled “Human rights and the financial sector”
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: Pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/69, this report summarizes the presentations and discussions from a consultation convened with senior executives and experts on human rights and the financial sector. The consultation considered existing initiatives and standards relevant to the financial sector, and examined ways to strengthen protection of human rights in the activities and decision-making of financial institutions.

A/HRC/4/99

CHR 62nd session

2006

Interim report of the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises
Summary: This interim report frames the overall context encompassing the mandate as the Special Representative sees it, outlines the general strategic approach taken, and summarizes his planned programme of activities.

E/CN.4/2006/97

CHR 62nd session

2005

Report on the sectoral consultation entitled “Human rights and the extractive industry”
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: Pursuant to Commission on Human Rights resolution 2005/69, this report summarizes the presentations and discussions from a consultation convened with senior executives and experts on human rights and the extractive industry. The consultation considered existing initiatives and standards relevant to the extractive sector, sought to clarify human rights responsibilities of business, and examined ways to strengthen protection of human rights in the extractive sector.

E/CN.4/2006/92

CHR 61st session

2005

Report on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and related business enterprises with regard to human rights
Report of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights
Summary: Pursuant to Commission on Human Rights decision 2004/116, this report considers the scope and legal status of existing initiatives and standards on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and related business enterprises with regard to human rights as well as outstanding issues that require further consideration by the Commission. The report reviews existing initiatives and standards on corporate social responsibility from a human rights perspective, noting that there are gaps in understanding the nature and scope of the human rights responsibilities of business.

E/CN.4/2005/91