[DOC] Commentary: Re-Righting Business: John Ruggie and the Struggle to develop International Human Rights Standards for Transnational Firms

Author: Susan Ariel Aaronson, Associate Research Professor, Elliott School of Intl. Affairs, George Washington Univ., and Research Fellow, World Trade Institute; Ian Higham, George Washington Univ., Published on: 1 June 2011

Executives clearly need guidance as to how to ensure that they don’t undermine the human rights of their stakeholders...Human rights violations by firms stem from a gap in national and international governance. But in June 2011, the UN Human Rights Council filled that breach; members approved a new framework developed by a team led by UN Special Representative John Ruggie. Under the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights..., states have primary responsibility to protect human rights, but firms have obligations to respect and remedy human rights violations in their purview...Ruggie and his team effectively altered the debate over business and human rights. They addressed why states and firms need to act, what States and business enterprises needed to do to ensure business respect for human rights, and “how” to move from concept to results through the Guiding Principles. But the GPs do not clearly delineate how to encourage firms to adopt them. The GPs provide no means of enforcement other than stakeholder and policymaker monitoring. [refers to SNCF, Vodafone]

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Related companies: SNCF (Société Nationale des Chemins de Fer) Vodafone