The Press Release provides details:
Today the United Nations Special Representative of the Secretary-General (SRSG) on business and human rights, John Ruggie, launched a global online forum, www.srsgconsultation.org. The purpose of the forum is to gather input for the SRSG as he develops guiding principles to operationalize the U.N. "Protect, Respect, Remedy" framework, as requested by the Human Rights Council.
“I’ve held consultations all over the world as part of my mandate on business and human rights, but this online forum will enable a whole new level of outreach and transparency,” said Professor Ruggie. “I hope that a wide array of stakeholders will participate in the forum to share their experiences and reflections.”
The U.N. "Protect, Respect, Remedy" framework is made up of three pillars: the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business; the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to avoid infringing on the rights of others; and greater access by victims to effective remedy, judicial and non-judicial.
The forum is currently focused on the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, the second pillar of the framework. The forum is divided into sections, each of which contains multiple topics with space for discussion and comment. These topics will remain in place through February 2010, although the SRSG may amend them in response to how the discussion proceeds.
This site was built specifically for the SRSG's mandate; it was created and is being maintained by students at The University of Western Ontario as part of their fourth year Design Project. Anybody can register to participate in the discussion and post comments. Recognizing that there are legitimate reasons why some cannot comment publicly, private correspondence can be submitted to email@example.com. To date the SRSG has not had the resources to translate the forum into other languages; recommendations for high-quality pro bono translation services that might be able to do so should be sent to firstname.lastname@example.org.
The forum is not intended to be an introduction to business and human rights or to the SRSG’s mandate. For more detail and background on the mandate, including information about the extensive consultations and research that led to the U.N. "Protect, Respect, Remedy" framework, please visit the SRSG’s web portal, which is hosted by the independent Business & Human Rights Resource Centre: http://www.business-humanrights.org/SpecialRepPortal/Home. New Online Forum for U.N. Business and Human Rights Mandate, United Nations Peress Release, New York and Geneva, Dec. 1, 2009.
Further inquires may be made to Christine Bader via e-mail at Christine_Bader[at]hks[dot]harvard[dot]edu.
The work of the Special Representative with respect to the obligations of economic enterprises beyond the more narrow competences of traditional law systems grounded in territorially limited domestic legal orders has become an important conceptual framework for constructing emerging governance systems at the transnational level. See Larry Catá Backer, On Challenges to Operationalizing a Transnational Framework for Business and Human Rights--the View From Geneva, Law at the End of the Day, Oct. 13, 2009. It has been embraced by important elements within the Organization for Economic Cooperation and Development in the construction of their soft law systems. See, e.g., Larry Catá Backer, The OECD Guidelines for Multinational Corporations: Using Soft Law to Operationalize a Transnational System of Corporate Governance Law at the End of the Day, March 5, 2009. It has become an important element for policy discussions within the European Union.
The European Union and its Member States should take a global lead and serve as a good example on CSR when building markets, combating corruption, safe- guarding the environment and ensuring human dignity and human rights in the workplace. The European Union is the largest economy in the world and the largest development cooperation partner. Europe hosts many of the multinational enterprises in the world. We welcome that European employers consider it an important task to promote and take a global lead on CSR. Protect, Respect, Remedy – Making the European Union take a lead in promoting Corporate Social Responsibility, Statement at a Conference organized by the Swedish EU Presidency, Nov. 11, 2009.
Sadly, interest in this work lags in the United States, whose approach might be best characterized as benign neglect. Those interested in this work should not neglect this opportunity to add your voices to the discussion.