ICC welcomes UN human rights report

  • 10 June 2008

The International Chamber of Commerce lauded a recently-released UN report, saying it offers a well-designed framework of principles for business responsibility on human rights.

Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General on business and human rights, professor John Ruggie, presented last week his final report to the UN Human Rights Council during its 8th Session in Geneva from 2 to 18 June.

The report, entitled Protect, Respect, and Remedy: A Framework for Business and Human Rights, provided  a conceptual and policy framework for addressing business and human rights. The report focused on three main principles: the state duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and access to remedies.

ICC issued a joint statement in support of these principles, along with the International Organisation of Employers (IOE) and the Business and Industry Advisory Committee to the OECD.

In the report, professor Ruggie outlines the distinct responsibilities for human rights by government and business.

The report also showed that the root causes of most human rights abuses stem from gaps in governance, and that most human rights abuses occur in countries in conflict, or with weak governance, high levels of corruption, or limited civil and political freedoms. The report also underscored the failure or inability of some governments to protect human rights.

In his remarks to the Human Rights Council, Professor Ruggie said the report had been well received by major international business and leading human rights organizations, stakeholders who were far apart in their thinking three years ago.

Mr. Ruggie consulted with a wide array of non-governmental organizations in preparing his three reports. During his tenure, Mr. Ruggie created a dialogue between business and human rights organizations, and has helped bring the views of these two groups closer together.

The UN Human Rights Council is expected to review Professor Ruggie’s mandate for possible renewal, and decide on a set of guidelines to make the proposed framework operational.

ICC, together with its partner business organizations, will continue providing business expertise into this process.

To furnish input, ICC draws on the experience of its thousands of member companies and the work of its Commission on Business in Society, ICC’s working body on corporate responsibility issues.