United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)
The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are a set of general and operational principles on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.
The framework consists of three pillars:
- State duty to protect human rights
- Corporate responsibility to respect human rights
- Access to remedy
There is no independent accountability mechanism for the guiding principles through which affected communities can complain about companies’ noncompliance. The guiding principles establish that companies should have a project-level grievance mechanism to address adverse human rights impacts. Other UN procedures may also be relevant for a wider complaint strategy.
Accountability Counsel’s advocacy around creation of the UNGPs
In particular, our organization has focused on the third pillar of these principles, access to remedy. In addition to our initial input into the creation of the guiding principles, we now advocate for government and private sector implementation of the guiding principles.
On 31 January, 2011, Accountability Counsel authored comments on the draft guiding principles for the implementation of the UN protect, respect, and remedy framework. Read the comments on the draft framework.
The final report to the Human Rights Council containing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights was released 21 March, 2011.
Role of the UN Working Group on business and human rights
The UN Working Group on business and human rights (UNWG) supports countries in their efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. One of the UNWG’s priorities is to encourage countries to adopt national action plans on business and human rights in order to better align government and business activities with the guiding principles.
The UNWG published guidance to assist countries in developing and carrying out national action plans in order to advance global efforts to implement the UN Guiding Principles. Accountability Counsel provided comments in a public consultation to contribute to the UNWG’s guidance on national action plans. Our submission highlighted the issues that states need to address in their national action plans in order to improve access to remedy. In particular, our submission underscored the State duty to ensure access to remedy for harm linked to international financial institutions and other State-linked agencies that support business enterprises, such as export finance and development agencies.
Read more about the UNWG’s efforts to promote national action plans here.
Accountability Counsel has focused on Access to Remedy, the third pillar of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). In addition to our initial input into the creation of the UNGPs we now advocate for government and private sector implementation of them.
- The Development of the U.S. National Action Plan on Responsible Business Conduct
- National Action Plans to Implement the UN Guiding Principles
- Accountability Counsel’s US Implementation Efforts with ICAR
- 2014 UN Universal Periodic Review of the United States
- 2013 European Commission Oil and Gas Sector Comments