Two new Human Rights Council resolutions on business and human rights

The UN Human Rights Council has adopted two new resolutions on business and human rights.

The first resolution, drafted by Ecuador and South Africa and supported by the Group of 77 and a coalition of more than 600 NGOs, directs the Council to establish an open-ended intergovernmental working group to ‘elaborate an international legally binding instrument to regulate, in international human rights law, the activities of transnational corporations and other business enterprises’.

A disappointing last minute amendment to the resolution narrows its focus to transnational corporations, excluding domestic businesses from its ambit.   

The second resolution, led by Norway and supported by Australia, the US, the UK and the EU, supports the existing UN Working Group and extends its mandate by another three years. It identifies access to justice for victims of corporate violations and national implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as two areas requiring particular attention. Specifically, the resolution calls on States to ‘take steps to implement the Guiding Principles, including to develop a national action plan or other such framework’.

Rachel Ball is Director of Advocacy and Campaigns at the Human Rights Law Centre.

Note: A more detailed analysis from the International Service for Human Rights can be found here.