Government’s Role

Australian Dialogue on Business & Human Rights - Do We Have Incentives?

Speech, 20 August 2015

By John Morrison, Chief Executive, IHRB

The Global Compact Network Australia and the Australian Human Rights Commission convened Australia's second national multi-stakeholder, multisector dialogue on business and human rights.

The Dialogue explored current practices, challenges and opportunities through the 'protect, respect and remedy' pillars of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, the authoritative global standard and key reference point for businesses on the 'how to' of addressing human rights impacts.

John Morrison, IHRB Executive Director, was asked to deliver the keynote speech. He started by saying: 

"We should take a moment at the start to reflect on how far the business and human rights agenda has moved in recent years. You will recall that in 2011, the Australian Government supported the UN Human Rights Council resolution that unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs), the final outcome of John Ruggie’s six-year mandate as the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative on Business and Human Rights. This was a historic achievement, not only in reaffirming states’ duties to protect their citizens against human rights abuses in which business is implicated, but also in establishing for the first time that business itself has its own responsibility to respect these same rights. The Guiding Principles make clear that the corporate responsibility to respect human rights must be backed up with concrete action through ongoing due diligence processes. The GPs stress as well that both governments and businesses need to provide effective remedies for victims when abuses do occur."

Read the full speech here.

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