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Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises

Overview

Members of the WG

The Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises (also referred to as the Working Group on Business and Human Rights) was established by the Human Rights Council in 2011 (resolution 17/4). The Working Group is composed of five independent experts, of balanced geographical representation. The Council renewed the Working Group’s mandate in 2014 (resolution 26/22), 2017 (resolution 35/7) and 2020 (resolution 44/15).

As set out in resolution 17/4, the Working Group has a mandate:

  • To promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework;
  • To identify, exchange and promote good practices and lessons learned on the implementation of the Guiding Principles and to assess and make recommendations thereon and, in that context, to seek and receive information from all relevant sources, including Governments, transnational corporations and other business enterprises, national human rights institutions, civil society and rights-holders;
  • To provide support for efforts to promote capacity-building and the use of the Guiding Principles, as well as, upon request, to provide advice and recommendations regarding the development of domestic legislation and policies relating to business and human rights;
  • To conduct country visits and to respond promptly to invitations from States;
  • To continue to explore options and make recommendations at the national, regional and international levels for enhancing access to effective remedies available to those whose human rights are affected by corporate activities, including those in conflict areas;
  • To integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate and to give special attention to persons living in vulnerable situations, in particular children;
  • To work in close cooperation and coordination with other relevant special procedures of the Human Rights Council, relevant United Nations and other international bodies, the treaty bodies and regional human rights organizations;
  • To develop a regular dialogue and discuss possible areas of cooperation with Governments and all relevant actors, including relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, funds and programmes, in particular the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Global Compact, the International Labour Organization, the World Bank and its International Finance Corporation, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Organization for Migration, as well as transnational corporations and other business enterprises, national human rights institutions, representatives of indigenous peoples, civil society organizations and other regional and subregional international organizations;
  • To guide the work of the Forum on Business and Human Rights;
  • To report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly.

Moreover, in its resolution, 35/7, the Council requested the Working Group:

  • To give due consideration to the implementation of the Guiding Principles in the context of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development.

Forum on Business and Human Rights

Annual ForumThe UN Forum established by the Human Rights Council on 2011, has become the world's largest global gathering on business and human rights. The three-day conference is held annually in Geneva, normally in November.

As the Human Rights Council specifies in its resolution 17/4, the Forum serves as a key global platform for stakeholders to ”discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles and promote dialogue and cooperation on issues linked to business and human rights.” It is open to States, business enterprises and associations, civil society organisations, trade unions, victims, academics, students, the media and any other relevant stakeholder.

The Forum is guided by the Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Moreover, as of 2017 (resolution 35/7), Working Group also has a mandate “to chair the Forum and submit a report on the proceedings and thematic recommendations of the Forum for consideration by the Human Rights Council”.

Please see the webpage of the Forum for further information.

Highlights

Contribution to the United Nations General Assembly Special Session against Corruption to be held from 2 to 4 June 2021

Call for input to project on the next decade of business and human rights (UNGPs10+) – ‘Have your say’

The WG’s presentation of its report to the General Assembly on “Business, human rights and conflict-affected regions: towards heightened action”

The WG issues the latest report to the General Assembly on “Business, human rights and conflict-affected regions: towards heightened action”

The WG shares recommendations with EU regarding the commitment to a proposed EU Directive on human rights and environmental due diligence in 2021

The WG provides specific recommendations to the French Development Agency relating to the key role that development finance institutions must play in ensuring respect for human rights, prior to the finance in common summit.

Peru: UN experts urge ratification of landmark Escazú Agreement to promote responsible business conduct, 10 August 2020

Two virtual events on 20 and 23 July 2020 to launch the Working Group’s latest report to the Human Rights Council - Connecting the business and human rights and the anti-corruption agendas

The WG issues the latest report to the Human Rights Council on “Connecting the business and human rights and anti-corruption agendas”

New Working Group project: “Business and human rights: towards a decade of global implementation”

Ensuring that business respects human rights during the Covid-19 crisis and beyond: The relevance of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Joint public statement on COVID-19 in Latin America and the Caribbean

The Working Group recommends the IFC's Accountability Review to strengthen alignment with the UNGPs on Business and Human Rights

UN experts welcome new study on corporate human rights due diligence

Joint statement on Human Rights Day 2019: Time to act – Protect defenders who speak up against business impact on people and planet

Global Consultation on NHRIs and access to remedy (Project on the Role of NHRIs in facilitating access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses)

The WG issues the latest report to the General Assembly on “Policy coherence in government action to protect against business-related human rights abuses”

UN Working Group calls on the G20 to act on business and human rights commitments

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Working Group Members

Ms. Anita Ramasastry
(Chair from 1 July 2020)
(USA), since 2016
Mr. Dante Pesce 
(Vice-chair from 1 July 2020)
(Chile), since 2015
Mr. Surya Deva 
(India), since 2016
Ms. Elżbieta Karska
(Poland), since 2018
Mr. Githu Muigai
(Kenya), since 2018


Former Members

Mr. Michael Addo
(Ghana), 2011-2018
Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga
(Russian Federation), 2011-2018
Ms. Margaret Jungk
(USA), 2011-2016
Ms. Alexandra Guaqueta
(Colombia), 2011-2015
Mr. Puvan Selvanathan
(Malaysia), 2011-2015

Contact

wg-business@ohchr.org


Working Group
Issues in focus
UN Forum on BHR
Regional events
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