Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises


About the mandate

In 2005 the UN Commission on Human Rights adopted resolution E/CN.4/RES/2005/69 requesting the “Secretary-General to appoint a special representative on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises” (SRSG) for two years. This resolution mandated the SRSG to, among other tasks, identify and clarify standards of corporate responsibility and accountability with regard to human rights.

In 2007, the Human Rights Council renewed the mandate in resolution A/HRC/RES/5/1 for an additional year. Under these mandates, the SRSG proposed the “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework to address business involvement in human rights abuse.

In 2008, the Human Rights Council unanimously welcomed and recognized the need to operationalize this framework, and renewed the SRSG's mandate for three years in resolution A/HRC/RES/8/7. The result of this mandate was the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), providing – for the first time – a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights involving business activity.

In A/HRC/RES/17/4, the Council unanimously welcomed the work and contributions of the SRSG and endorsed the UNGPs. Following the fulfillment of the SRSG's mandate, the Council decided in the same resolution to establish a Working Group on Business and Human Rights.

All information and documents related to the SRSG's work is available on his portal on the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre.

Mandate holder

Picture of SRSG, John Ruggie
Special Representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

John Ruggie was the special representative of the Secretary-General on human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises from 2005 - 2011. He is the Berthold Beitz Professor in Human Rights and International Affairs at Harvard’s Kennedy School of Government and Affiliated Professor in International Legal Studies at Harvard Law. Professor Ruggie has served the United Nations in various capacities since the 1990s. Read Professor Ruggie's profile.



Key documents

United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs)

The UNGPs are the global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of adverse impacts on human rights linked to business activity, and they provide the internationally-accepted framework for enhancing standards and practices with regard to business and human rights. The Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles in its resolution 17/4 of 16 June 2011.

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