SRSG Submits Final Draft of Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights
New York/Geneva (March 7)—Today, John Ruggie, Special Representative of the United Nations Secretary-General for business and human rights, submitted the final draft of the Guiding Principles on implementing the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework for business and human rights.
In accordance with United Nations rules and procedures, the document will be made public by OHCHR once it has completed the processing. The Human Rights Council will consider the Guiding Principles at its June 2011 session.
In submitting the Guiding Principles, the Special Representative wished to acknowledge ““the extraordinary contributions by hundreds of individuals, groups and institutions around the world, representing different segments of society and sectors of industry, who gave freely of their time, openly shared their experiences, and debated options vigorously. Their engagement provided the basis for a successful mandate: establishing universally applicable and yet practical Guiding Principles on the effective prevention of, and remedy for, business-related human rights harm.”
The Special Representative’s mandate was created in 2005 in order to move beyond what had been a deeply divisive doctrinal debate over the human rights responsibilities of companies. Professor Ruggie’s goal was to build shared understanding and consensus among stakeholders by convening consultations around the world and by conducting extensive research. Out of that process came the ““Protect, Respect and Remedy”” Framework, which was unanimously welcomed by the Human Rights Council in 2008. The Council then asked Ruggie to continue working in the same manner to operationalize the Framework. The Guiding Principles were developed in response to that request, and to take the next step of providing concrete guidance and recommendations to states and businesses, as well as benchmarks by which their performance can be assessed by other stakeholders.
While the Guiding Principles are intended to be universally applicable, Professor Ruggie added that “they are not intended as a tool kit, simply to be taken off the shelf and plugged in. The means for their implementation will reflect the fact that we live in a world of 192 United Nations Member States, 80,000 transnational enterprises, ten times as many subsidiaries and countless millions of national firms, most of which are small and medium- sized enterprises.
Since the establishment of his mandate in 2005, the Special Representative has held 47 international consultations, on all continents, and he and his team have made site visits to business operations and their local stakeholders in more than twenty countries. The Special Representative received feedback on a draft of the Guiding Principles from 22 November 2010 through 31 January 2011. Submissions came from all over the world, including from governments, individual companies and business associations, civil society, investors, academics, international organizations, law firms, and interested individual, and extensive feedback from governments was also received in an informal session with the Human Rights Council. A special online forum attracted 3,576 absolute unique visitors from 120 countries and territories, with an average of 88 visits per day. In addition, written comments were invited for posting on the Special Representative’s web portal (www.business- humanrights.org/SpecialRepPortal/Home). Some 100 submissions were received by the deadline. On the basis of these many inputs, the SRSG drew up the Guidelines’ final draft.