Governments are increasingly introducing legislative regimes to encourage or require companies to carry out human rights due diligence.
Mandatory human rights due diligence regimes have a potentially vital role to play as part of a “smart mix” of measures to effectively foster business respect for human rights, as called for in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs).
As the lead of the business and human rights agenda within the UN system, OHCHR plays an important role in influencing the rapidly developing mandatory human rights due diligence landscape at the international, regional, and national levels. OHCHR has developed particular expertise on the relationship between human rights due diligence and accountability and remedy through its Accountability and Remedy Project (ARP).
Since 2018, OHCHR has produced numerous resources to help unpack how mHRDD regimes can be designed and implemented in a way that aligns with the UNGPs. Notable examples of such work include:
- October 2023: Final Call for Alignment of the EU Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: OHCHR’s final call on EU Member States and the European Parliament, with the support of the Commission, to adopt a robust Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive that is aligned in all essential elements with the UNGPs.
- September 2022: Mandating Downstream Human Rights Due Diligence: OHCHR note on why the EU’s Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive should apply to downstream impacts on human rights that a company may be involved in. This note is complemented by a blog post on downstream human rights due diligence in the tech sector.
- May 2022: OHCHR Feedback on the Proposal for a Directive of the European Parliament and of the Council on Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence: OHCHR’s technical feedback on the proposed EU Directive, covering issues such as company and subject-matter scope, taking action, enforcement and remedy, and stakeholder engagement.
- March 2022: ILO-OECD-OHCHR joint letter to President von der Leyen, Commissioner Breton, and Commissioner Reynders: welcomes the European Commission’s commitment to advancing the protection of human rights and the environment through due diligence.
- March 2022: Consultation exploring the links between human rights due diligence, accountability, and access to remedy: covers global developments and how human rights due diligence regimes relate to courts, administrative supervision, and private grievance mechanisms. A summary of the discussions can be found in the ARP IV addendum.
- October 2021: Enforcement of Mandatory Due Diligence: Key Design Considerations for Administrative Supervision: a joint policy paper with Shift exploring how administrative supervision can complement civil liability for harms in the effective enforcement of due diligence requirements.
- July 2021: OHCHR Recommendations to the European Commission regarding the EU Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence Directive: provides recommendations in light of the European Parliament's resolution of 10 March 2021 on corporate due diligence and corporate accountability and focuses in particular on issues connected with the translation of human rights due diligence into a binding legal standard, and on corporate accountability and remedy.
- June 2020: OHCHR Issues Paper on legislative proposals for mandatory human rights due diligence by companies: unpacks some of the main choices, complexities and policy trade-offs that policy-makers and legislators considering mandatory human rights due diligence legislation will be confronted with. A companion document outlines some key considerations to be taken into account when thinking about mandatory human rights due diligence, with more of a focus on the EU context.
- June 2018: HRDD and legal liability report (Traducción no oficial en español): analyzes and clarifies the relationship between human rights due diligence and determinations of corporate liability.
The Working Group on Business and Human Rights has also released numerous resources on the issue of mandatory human rights due diligence.