OHCHR publications and resources on business and human rights


Resources to aid the interpretation of the Guiding Principles

The resources below were developed by, or in coordination with, UN Human Rights to provide further clarity on the meaning of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Particular initiatives of the office on business and human rights (e.g., the Accountability and Remedy Project and the B-Tech Project) have resulted in more-detailed guidance on particular aspects of the UNGPs; please visit the webpages of the respective initiatives to find more information.

FAQ on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Frequently Asked Questions on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2014)

This publication with frequently asked questions explains the background and the contents of the UNGPs and how they relate to the broader human rights system and other frameworks. It aims to help both practitioners and newcomers to navigate and understand the Guiding Principles.

العربية | 中文 | English | Français | Русский | Español 

A Guide for Business: How to Develop a Human Rights Policy (published jointly with the United Nations Global Compact)

The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights: An Interpretive Guide (2012)

This interpretive guide focuses on the Guiding Principles that address the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. It was developed in full collaboration with the former Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises.

العربية | 中文 | English | Français | Русский |  Español

Cover Guide on How to Develop a Human Rights Policy

Guide on How to Develop a Human Rights Policy (2015)

This guide provides instruction on how businesses can develop and implement a human rights policy within their companies, aligned with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. An earlier version of this guide was published in 2011 (also available in español).


Human Rights Translated 2.0 - A Business Reference Guide (2016)

Human Rights Translated 2.0 - A Business Reference Guide is an easy-to read handbook for business using real-life case studies, illustrating how human rights are relevant in a corporate context and how to manage human rights issues. The current edition was updated in 2016 to include the latest legal developments and recent case studies. An earlier version of this guide was published in 2008.

Cover for BankTrack advice

OHCHR response to request from BankTrack for advice regarding the application of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the context of the banking sector (2017)

This note provides advice and clarification on the factors that would influence how a bank is involved with an adverse human rights impact (i.e., cause, contribution, and direct linkage); the responsibilities of banks with respect to remediation in situations where a bank has contributed to an adverse human rights impact; and the role of operational-level grievance mechanisms in this context.

Cover for OECD advice © OHCHR

OHCHR advice to the OECD on the application of the Guiding Principles to the financial sector (2013)

This note provides advice on what is meant by being “directly linked” and the extent to which minority shareholders and investment in sovereign bonds are covered by this provision.

Cover SOMO response © OHCHR

OHCHR response to SOMO on the application of the UNGPs to minority shareholdings of institutional investors (2013)

This note provides guidance as to whether the UNGPs apply to institutional investors holding minority shareholdings, whether such shareholdings constitute a "business relationship," and the role of leverage in such circumstances.

Cover Porgera opinion © OHCHR

Opinion issued by OHCHR in response to letters regarding the Porgera remediation framework (2013)

This note provides guidance on operational-level grievance mechanisms, the issue of waivers of legal claims, the nature of remedies, and stakeholder engagement.


Other relevant resources


Cover Maritime Human Rights Risks and the COVID-19 Crew Change Crisis: A Tool to Support Human Rights Due Diligence (2021) © OHCHR


Maritime Human Rights Risks and the COVID-19 Crew Change Crisis: A Tool to Support Human Rights Due Diligence (2021)

This tool is intended to help businesses uphold their responsibility to respect human rights in the maritime sector during the COVID-19 related crew change crisis through urgent measures. The tool is a response to the ongoing crisis concerning crew changes and is not intended to provide comprehensive guidance on human rights due diligence for the maritime sector.

Cover PKey Messages on human rights, climate change and business © OHCHR

Key Messages on human rights, climate change and business (2020)

This document explores the main legal and policy implications of the UNGPs for States and businesses with regard to human rights and climate change and concludes with some of OHCHR’s key advocacy messages on this issue.

Cover BHR in times of COVID-19 © OHCHR

Business and human rights in times of COVID-19 (2020)
This note provides a brief and non-exhaustive overview of some key considerations and recommendations for action based on the UNGPs’ three-pillar “Protect, Respect and Remedy” framework in the context of COVID-19. At the end of the note are some useful resources developed by other actors to further guide action.

English |  Русский

Cover COVID and seafarers call for action © OHCHR

The COVID-driven humanitarian crisis of seafarers: A call for action under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2020)

In this joint statement, OHCHR, UN Global Compact, and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights address the situation of hundreds of thousands of seafarers stranded at sea due to Government-imposed measures to counter COVID-19, and discuss the respective roles of States and business in line with the UNGPs. The joint statement was echoed in an Office press briefing.

Cover mandatory human rights due diligence issues paper © OHCHR

UN Human Rights “Issues Paper” on legislative proposals for mandatory human rights due diligence by companies (2020)

This paper seeks to unpack some of the main choices, complexities and policy trade-offs that policy-makers and legislators considering mandatory human rights due diligence legislation will be confronted with, and covers some of the advantages and disadvantages of different courses of action. A shorter document on key considerations provides a summary of some of these points, with a focus on the EU context.

Cover: Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, & Intersex People OHCHR

Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against Lesbian, Gay, Bi, Trans, & Intersex People (2017)
The Standards of Conduct for Business on Tackling Discrimination against LGBTI people provide specific guidance on how companies can align their policies and practices in the workplace, marketplace and communities in which they do business, with international standards on the human rights of LGBTI people.

Cover self study on Principles for Responsible Contracts © OHCHR

OHCHR Training Modules on the Principles for Responsible Contracts: Integrating the management of human rights risks into State-investor contract negotiations - Guidance for negotiators (2013)

This self-study was developed for State and commercial representatives, civil society, lenders, and investors to learn about what it means to integrate the protection of, and respect for, human rights into State-investor contracts. This is a 90-minute self-study that covers the development of the guide, the ten key principles for responsible contracts, their key implications, a negotiators’ checklist, and practice examples.

Cover Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights © OHCHR

An introduction to the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (2013)

This short document summarises the content of the UN Guiding Principles and describes the mandate of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

Cover OHCHR and Global Compact Human Rights and Business Learning Tool © OHCHR

OHCHR and Global Compact Human Rights and Business Learning Tool (2010)

This interactive web-based tool is intended to assist managers and corporate responsibility professionals in companies participating in the UN Global Compact to understand what human rights are and how they are relevant to their business operations, in particular in relation to the two first Global Compact principles. The tool also focuses on related concepts of spheres of influence and complicity, and it provides relevant links, exercises and case studies. In addition, a self-assessment test is offered to participants after completing each module, which will generate a certificate if the test is successfully completed.