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John Ruggie was appointed as Special Representative of the Secretary General of the United Nations for Business and Human Rights on 28 July 2005 for a term lasting until July 2008. The mission of the appointment was to identify and clarify standards for corporate responsaibility and accountability for human rights, as well as to identify the State’s function in the regulation and development of methodologies for impact assessment and mitigation in cases of human rights violations by multinational enterprises. The overall purpose was to achieve better corporate practices in pursuit of human rights.
Between 2005 and 2008, Special Representative Ruggie submitted two reports: one to the Human Rights Commission in 2006, (E/CN.4/2006/97), and the other to the new Human Rights Council in 2007, (A/HRC/4/035). He also conducted fourteen consultations to businesses, governments and civil society throughout five continents, and found a recurring theme –the urgent need for a common framework for understanding the world of business and human rights.
Consequently, in June 2008, he proposed a regulatory framework (Policy Framework for Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises) in order for companies to know the context of the global expectations regarding their responsibility to respect human rights in the private sector, and global expectations toward other principles in (A/HRC/8/5).
This Policy Framework is based on three complementary and interdependent, fundamental principles: 1) The State’s duty to protect against human rights abuses by companies, 2) corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and 3) access to remediation through either non-judicial or judicial means for victims of human rights violations.
To meet the third principle proposed by the Policy Framework, “access to remediation”, Professor Ruggie created a tool for disseminating information that accepts updates from its users. The name of the tool, BASESwiki, comes from its objective, “Business and Society: Exploring Solutions”, BASES, and from its use of a wiki format. BASESwiki promotes the use of non-judicial mechanisms for resolving conflicts by providing information on alternative procedures that exist in different countries. This includes contributions by experts and, among other things, a survey of cases brought forward by communities affected by human rights violations. CEDHA is a Focal Point for Latin America. To fulfill this role it promotes the use of these tools and other existing non-judicial mechanisms, investigates and analyzes the current situation in the region, and seeks out cases brought in the respective countries.
The Human Rights Council unanimously decided to approve the Policy Framework and extend the three year mandate (2008-2011) of Professor John Ruggie. This marked the first time that the Council adopted a policy position on business and human rights. In its second term, the Council decided to “operationalize” the framework, aiming to develop guiding principles for each of its three pillars. To reach that goal, the Council carried out extensive consultations and received participation from a wide range of actors whose experience and influence helped turn the principles into practice and ensure that economic globalization is sustainable for all.
To read the Guiding Principles on business and human rights: implementation of the United Nations framework to “protect, respect and remedy”, click on: https://center-hre.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/06/Principios-guias-ingles-marzo-2011.pdf
On 1 June 2010, the Friedrich Ebert Stiftung Foundation (FES) met parallel to the 14th Session of the UN Human Rights Council at the Palais des Nations in Geneva for an event regarding the responsibility of corporate activity with respect to human rights. The purpose of this event was to discuss with civil society, various state delegations and human rights institutions, different aspects of human rights that can be strengthened by an update of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and what processes would be pertinent for different regions. The panelists were Professor John Ruggie, Gerald Pachoud (adviser), the representative of TUAC, and Kristine Drew, Britta Utz and Victor Ricco of the CEDHA Foundation.
The relevant report can be read at: https://center-hre.org/wp-content/uploads/2011/05/informe-del-evento-debate-de-framework-cedha-participa-junio-2010.pdf
CEDHA has participated in a Conference about The UN framework for business and human rights on the Thursday 13 – Saturday 15 January 2011, organized by Wilton Park.
Following publication of the draft Guiding Principles (GPs) for the implementation of the UN framework for business and human rights, Wilton Park held an informal consultation with a broad cross-section of major stakeholders: representatives of governments from all global regions, from intergovernmental organizations, national human rights institutions, business and civil society, together with the author of the draft principles, the UN Secretary-General’s Special Representative (SRSG) on business and human rights, Professor John Ruggie.
To access the Report of the Conference click here:
On 31 January 2011 CEDHA presented its comments on the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights supporting the implementation of the Policy Framework proposed by John Ruggie.