human rights & business (and a few other things)

Middlesex Law Department’s submission to the UN Secretary-General

A few weeks ago, the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights called for input from organisations engaged in activities related to business and human rights for the future report of the Secretary-General on business and human rights. The report is meant to be outlining what the next steps should be, now that John Ruggie’s Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights have been adopted by the UN Human Rights Council last June. Keeping the momentum is obviously a big challenge and I think this position was shared by most of us who were present at the first session of the new working group on business and human rights in Geneva last January.

So everybody hold your breath, the Secretary-General report will be on “how the United Nations system as a whole, including programmes and funds and specialized agencies, can contribute to the advancement of the business and human rights agenda and the dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles, addressing in particular how capacity-building of all relevant actors to this end can best be addressed within the United Nations system, to be presented to the Human Rights Council at its twenty-first session.”

With these quite puzzling instructions in mind my colleague Jérémie Gilbert and I prepared a short submission on behalf of Middlesex University which you can find on the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre’s site.

Our submission focuses on mainstreaming John Ruggie’s Guiding Principles in the UN human rights mechanisms and in the work of the UN regarding indigenous peoples’ rights, two areas in which our expertise lies. We have aimed to keep it concise and simple, with straightforward recommendations and practical advice.

I don’t know what will come out of the process but my initial thought was that their thinking about dissemination is a good sign. This is meant to be just the beginning…

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