The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were developed as a (key) step in the implementation of the UN ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework for business and human rights, as developed in 2008 by the UN Special Representative for this issue, John Ruggie. The Principles have been endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council (HRC/RES/17/4, 16 June 2011), and the Council also established the UN Working Group on business and human rights, requesting it, inter alia, to promote the dissemination and implementation of the Principles; to identify good practices and lessons learned; 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’ (ibidem). The Principles, including Commentaries, can be found at www.ohchr.org/documents/ publications/GuidingprinciplesBusinesshr_en.pdf.
The UN Guiding Principles follow the division in terms of (a) the State duty to protect human rights, (b) corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and (c) access to remedy, to be taken care of by both states and business enterprises. The Principles are divided into ‘foundational’ and ‘operational’ principles; however, this division is left aside here. Italics have been added in order to facilitate reading/ browsing of this annex.
THE STATE DUTY TO PROTECT HUMAN RIGHTS
States must protect against human rights abuse within their territory and/or jurisdiction by third parties, including business enterprises. This requires taking appropriate steps to prevent, investigate, punish and redress such abuse through effective policies, legislation, regulations and adjudication.
States should set out clearly the expectation that all business enterprises domiciled in their territory and/or jurisdiction respect human rights throughout their operations.
States should take additional steps to protect against human rights abuses by business enterprises that are owned or controlled by the State, or that receive substantial support and services from State agencies such as export credit agencies and official investment insurance or guarantee agencies, including, where appropriate, by requiring human rights due diligence.