The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council in June 2011, are a set of guidelines for States and companies to prevent, address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations. The UNGPs rest on three pillars:
- States have a duty to protect people from human rights abuses by third parties, including business.
- Business has a responsibility to respect human rights, which means to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address negative impacts with which a business is involved.
- There is a need for greater access to effective remedies, both judicial and non-judicial, for victims of corporate-related abuse.
Although they are voluntary, there is a movement to create a binding treaty: “Legally Binding Instrument to Regulate, in International Human Rights Law, the Activities of Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises”
This briefing will include a discussion on the current status of the draft and what is the role of lawyers, law firms, and bar associations in ensuring access to remedy for business related human rights harms.
Deborah Enix-Ross is Senior Advisor to the International Dispute Resolution Group at Debevoise & Plimpton and a member of the firm’s Diversity Commission.
Ms. Enix-Ross is a former Chair of the ABA Center for Human Rights and Immediate Past Chair of the Center’s Business and Human Rights Project where she led efforts to have bar associations sign the “Joint Declaration of Commitment on the Development and Promotion of the Field of Business and Human Rights within the Legal Profession”. She is a Member of the Law Firm Business & Human Rights Peer Learning Group.