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International standards

OHCHR and business and human rights

International standards on business and human rights


United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights
The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) are the global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights involving business activity, and they provide the internationally-accepted framework for enhancing standards and practices with regard to business and human rights. They were developed by the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (SRSG). The Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles in its resolution 17/4 of 16 June 2011.


Principles for Responsible Contracts: Integrating the Management of Human Rights Risks into State-Investor Contract Negotiations
The Principles for Responsible Contracts provide 10 key principles to help integrate the management of human rights risks into contract negotiations on investment projects between host State entities and foreign business investors. They were submitted by the SRSG as an addendum to the Guiding Principles and should be read in conjunction with them.


ILO Tripartite Declaration of Principles concerning Multinational Enterprises and Social Policy (MNE Declaration)
The Tripartite declaration of principles concerning multinational enterprises and social policy is the ILO instrument that provides direct guidance to enterprises on social policy and inclusive, responsible and sustainable workplace practices. The aim of this Declaration is to encourage the positive contribution which multinational enterprises can make to economic and social progress and the realization of decent work for all, and to minimize and resolve the difficulties to which their various operations may give rise.


OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises
The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries. They provide non-binding principles and standards for responsible business conduct in a global context consistent with applicable laws and internationally recognised standards.


The Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact
Derived from core United Nations conventions and declarations, the Ten Principles of the UN Global Compact are recognized and endorsed in numerous intergovernmental resolutions and outcome documents. They cover four areas: (1) human rights, (2) labour, (3) environment, and (4) anti-corruption.

Internationally recognized human rights

As noted in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the responsibility of business enterprises to respect human rights refers to internationally recognized human rights – understood, at a minimum, as those expressed in the:

Depending on the circumstances, business enterprises may need to consider additional standards, such as those found in: