Key Thematic Priorities for the UN Working Group on Business & Human RIghts

Submission, 08 December 2011

In June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council decided to establish a Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (the Working Group) with a mandate, inter alia, to promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights worldwide.

At its 18th session in September 2011, the Council appointed five independent experts, of balanced geographical representation, for a period of three years, as members of the Working Group.

In advance of the Working Group's official formation in January 2012, the OHCHR invited all interested stakeholders to provide input to the key thematic priorities and activities of the Working Group. This IHRB submission is made in response to those consultation questions. 

IHRB's submission focuses on four areas where the Working Group has a particularly important leadership role to play in the time ahead:

  1. Developing a system of authoritative interpretation of the Guiding Principles to ensure common understanding and address disputes that may arise over their implementation in multiple and often difficult contexts.
  2. Establishing clear effectiveness criteria for human rights due diligence processes undertaken by companies as outlined in the Guiding Principles.
  3. Addressing capacity gaps that will likely constrain effective implementation of the UN Protect, Respect, Remedy framework and Guiding Principles.
  4. Engaging in dialogue across all global regions during 2012 to ensure that diverse views and concerns about implementation of the Guiding Principles are heard and understood at the start of the mandate.

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