Treaty on Business & Human Rights

What the OHCHR’s Accountability & Remedy Project Adds to the Treaty Discussions

In June 2014, the Human Rights Council raised some eyebrows by creating not just one, but two parallel processes on corporate accountability in human rights-related cases.  The first process, set out in Resolution 26/9 called for the establishment...

Regulate First. Ask Questions Later.

There is a remarkable lack of concern on the part of policy makers about the dearth of evidence for the effectiveness of the international standards they push at business.

So it was with some anticipation that I read Roel Nieuwenkamp’s recent IHRB...

International Arbitration of Business and Human Rights Disputes - Answers to Key Questions

International arbitration uses private arbitrators to resolve disputes of many kinds that arise between parties from different countries. The parties must consent to its use and they participate in the selection of the arbitrators.  Could it be used...

01 September 2017

Commentary by Robert C. Thompson

Looking Back, Looking Ahead: What lessons should we learn from past UN efforts to adopt a Code of Conduct for Business?

What rules should govern the behavior of transnational corporations (TNCs) and other businesses, both in the countries in which they are established and where ever they operate around the world?

In the 1970s, states sought to answer this question...

16 April 2016

Commentary by Karl P. Sauvant

The Movement and the IGWiG

One year ago, a remarkable diplomatic consensus that had lasted the better part of a decade was seemingly shattered when the Human Rights Council passed two separate resolutions on business and human rights: one was focused on the continued work of...

Anatomy of a business and human rights treaty?

In July an Intergovernmental Working Group will convene at the United Nations in Geneva to begin deliberations about a proposed treaty on business and human rights. But what kind of treaty?

The UN Human Rights Council decided in June 2014 to...

Organisations Seek Stronger Labour Protections in Palm Oil Industry

Today an impressive coalition of diverse human rights and environmental organisations launched the Free and Fair Labor in Palm Oil Production: Principles and Implementation Guidance. Endorsed by more than 20 organizations from around the world, this...

03 March 2015

Commentary by Lori Bishop

Do Climate Negotiations Offer Lessons for UN Treaty on Business and Human Rights?

Last week, representatives from nearly 200 countries adopted a draft text on combating climate change, an important step toward a new global treaty world leaders hope to agree in Paris this December.

The 86-page text agreed in Geneva contains a...

The Caravan toward Business Respect for Human Rights

The business and human rights agenda, long critiqued for its voluntary principles and soft standards, has made progress in strengthening accountability mechanisms that help prevent abuse of human rights.   Energy has intensified around governmental...

11 February 2015

Commentary by Amol Mehra

Of aims and means: Toward greater Coordination and Harmonization of Efforts

As earlier posts in this series have noted, the UN Human Rights Council’s decision earlier this year to explore a binding treaty on business and human rights is a potential turning point in international efforts to ensure state and corporate...

29 October 2014

Commentary by Josua Loots

Quo Vadis? Unsolicited Advice to Business and Human Rights Treaty Sponsors

In June of this year, a group of countries led by Ecuador succeeded in persuading the UN Human Rights Council to initiate negotiations aimed at regulating the conduct of multinational corporations. Preparations are now under way in Geneva and...

09 September 2014

Commentary by John Ruggie, Patron, IHRB

New UN Human Rights Commissioner Needs to Get Down to Business

This piece was originally published on

Amidst many priorities, the High Commissioner must focus on the problem of ensuring companies respect human rights, at a moment when a hard fought consensus on how to do so is at risk of...

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