Business & Human Rights Programme

The Bhopal disaster in 1984 and the Rana Plaza collapse in 2013 are examples of how human rights violations in the private sector can cause huge loss of life. In the wake of events such as these and other human rights violations by the private sector, civil society has increasingly called for companies to be held accountable to human rights standards. If companies had been held accountable to such standards, these disasters may never have happened.

Within existing international human rights law, states are the primary duty-bearer and private actors are only indirectly obliged to abide by human rights law, generally through state legislation. This has led to many companies believing that their only obligation is to respect national laws, even where those laws have failed to meet international human rights standards.

In June 2011 this debate was put to an end when the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) were endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council. The UNGPs rest on three pillars:

  1. The state duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business;
  2. The corporate responsibility to respect human rights; and
  3. Access by affected people to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.

These guidelines are an authoritative starting point in defining human rights responsibilities within the private sector. Whilst businesses are not being asked to take on the same responsibilities as governments, they are still expected to respect human rights and provide remedy in cases of human rights violations.

Codes and standards related to companies and human rights have proliferated in recent years. This trend has been picked up by governments, who have started passing related legislation, and investors, who have started requesting that companies disclose data on their human rights performance.

The UN Global Compact Network UK's Business and Human Rights Programme aims to support businesses to better understand and apply human rights standards in their operations.

Our programme includes, but is not limited to, the following activities:

We welcome suggestions if there is anything you would like to see us cover in our B&HR Programme. Please contact Senior Programme Manager, Bee Delgado.

#PeaceOneDay @unhumanrights are delighted to announce that @EmmanuelJAL will participate in the Anti-Racism Live Global Digital Experience
More info👉
#fightracism #standup4humanrights #SDG16Plus #qualityconnections #Liptonicetea #AvonWorldwide #SpeakOut

.@dfat @AustraliaUN_GVA donated $1.88M to support our Office's #humanrights work. You can donate too:

Register now:! #Talk2EndCRSV continues on 25 Jan. at 1 P.M. EST with Patricia Viseur Sellers, SR #ValRichey and other experts to discuss the justice response to conflict-related sexual violence crimes associated with slavery and #traffickinginpersons

#PeaceOneDay @unhumanrights are delighted to announce that @sholamos1 will participate in the Anti-Racism Live Global Digital Experience
More info👉
#fightracism #standup4humanrights #SDG16Plus #qualityconnections #Liptonicetea #AvonWorldwide #SpeakOut

🇪🇬#Egypt: @MaryLawlorhrds is extremely concerned by seemingly unrelenting efforts of the authorities to silence dissent & shrink civic space. She urges immediate release of all detained rights defenders, journalists, civil society & their family members 👉

🇸🇩 #Sudan: Following deeply disturbing information about 2 deadly incidents of inter-communal violence in #Darfur over the past week, we fear that the lack of security & chronic impunity in the region leaves it vulnerable to further serious violence 👉

Looking forward to working closely with @POTUS Joe Biden & @VP Kamala Harris. We welcome the first actions of your government, signalling strong engagement on climate change & tackling the pandemic, and your commitment towards humane migration, racial justice & LGBTI protection.

Equality is a universal goal:
✅Women and girls
✅LGBTI people
✅People with disabilities
✅Older workers
✅Ethnic and religious minorities
✅Indigenous Peoples
☑️Anyone facing discrimination anywhere

We need equality for ALL.

Alta Comisionada de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos Michelle Bachelet reconoce y felicita la labor de Francisco Verá, niño ambientalista de #Colombia Gracias Francisco !! Ver carta 👇🏿👇🏿👇🏿@franciscoactiv2 @mbachelet @GretaThunberg @UNHumanRights @IvanDuque


.@BelgiumUNGeneva has donated $597K to support our Office's #humanrights work. You can donate too:

🇭🇹 #Haiti: The authorities should act to avoid repetition of #HumanRights violations and abuses during protests.

Law enforcement officers must abide by international norms and standards regarding the use of force when dealing with protests.

Learn more:

"La desaparición de una persona tiene profundos efectos en sus familiares y allegados, pero también en la sociedad y en el Estado de Derecho.”

@mbachelet, Alta Comisionada de la ONU para los Derechos Humanos nos comparte más.


My worries for today and tomorrow:
🔸Climate change

We cannot afford to pick and choose just one single challenge to address.

We must act.

🇷🇺 #Russia: We are deeply troubled by the arrest of Aleksei Navalny, and call for his immediate release and for his due process rights to be respected in line with the rule of law. We reiterate our call for a thorough and impartial investigation into his poisoning.

.@ANDORRA_UN has donated $18K to support our Office's #humanrights work. You can donate too:

UN Committee on the Elimination of Discrimination against Women remains deeply concerned about the devastating impact of #COVID19 on women's rights and on the international human rights system. The Committee calls for joint action and solidarity.
Read 👉

🇨🇫 Central African Republic: Violations of human rights & international humanitarian law must be punished to prevent ongoing violence & conflict – UN expert Yao Agbetse: "Without a strong message combined with deterrent actions, the worst could happen" 👉

Wikipedia only exists through the power of human collaboration, creativity, and curiosity.

Thank you for 20 years! #Wikipedia20

Twenty years, 55 million articles, hundreds of thousands of volunteers, one goal: free knowledge for all.

Happy 20th birthday, @Wikipedia! Here’s to many, many more. #Wikipedia20

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Business & Human Rights