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New Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights endorsed by the UN Human Rights Council

June 19, 2011

GENEVA (16 June 2011) – In an unprecedented step, the United Nations
Human Rights Council has endorsed a new set of Guiding Principles for
Business and Human Rights* designed to provide -for the first time- a
global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse
impacts on human rights linked to business activity.

“The Council’s endorsement establishes the Guiding Principles as the
authoritative global reference point for business and human rights,”
said John Ruggie, the Secretary-General’s Special Representative for
Business and Human Rights. “They will also provide civil society,
investors and others the tools to measure real progress in the daily
lives of people.”

The Guiding Principles are the product of six years of research led by
Professor Ruggie from Harvard University, involving governments,
companies, business associations, civil society, affected individuals
and groups, investors and others around the world. They are based on
47 consultations and site visits in more than 20 countries; an online
consultation that attracted thousands of visitors from 120 countries;
and voluminous research and submissions from experts from all over the

The new standards outline how States and businesses should implement
the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework in order to better
manage business and human rights challenges.

Under the ‘State Duty to Protect,’ the Guiding Principles recommend
how governments should provide greater clarity of expectations and
consistency of rule for business in relation to human rights. The
‘Corporate Responsibility to Respect’ principles provide a blueprint
for companies on how to know and show that they are respecting human
rights. The ‘Access to Remedy’ principles focus on ensuring that where
people are harmed by business activities, there is both adequate
accountability and effective redress, judicial and non-judicial.

In giving its endorsement, the Human Rights Council commended
Professor Ruggie for developing the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy”
Framework, and recognized the role of the Guiding Principles in
providing comprehensive recommendations for its implementation.

The Special Representative’s mandate was created in 2005 by the then
UN Commission on Human Rights (now Human Rights Council) in order to
move beyond what had been a long-standing and deeply divisive debate
over the human rights responsibilities of companies. Professor Ruggie,
of Harvard University, was appointed to the position by Kofi Annan, UN
Secretary-General at the time, and was extended in his role by current
Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon. His aim was to build meaningful
consensus among all stakeholders about the roles and responsibilities
of both States and companies with regard to business’s impacts on
human rights. To achieve that consensus, he conducted extensive
research and convened consultations around the world.

(*) Check the Guiding Principles:
more about the mandate and work of the Special Representative, visit:

For more information and media requests, please contact Ms. Lene
Wendland (Tel. +41 22 928 9299 / email: ) or Mr.
John E. Grova (Tel. +41 22 928 9463 / email: ).

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