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[DOC] Report of the United Nations High Commissioner on Human Rights on the responsibilities of transnational corporations and related business enterprises with regard to human rights

Author: United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, Published on: 15 February 2005

The Commission might wish to consider further the effect of imposing direct legal obligations on business entities under international human rights law and how such obligations might be monitored...the High Commissioner underlines not only the importance of this issue to the Commission’s agenda but also the need for the Commission to act expeditiously...There is a growing interest in discussing further the possibility of establishing a United Nations statement of universal human rights standards applicable to business...Much of the consultation process focused on the draft “Norms on the Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises with regard to Human Rights”...The High Commissioner...recommends to the Commission to maintain the draft Norms among existing initiatives and standards on business and human rights, with a view to their further consideration...The principal issues [identified in the High Commissioner's report] that would benefit from further clarification and research include the concepts of “sphere of influence” and “complicity”; the nature of positive responsibilities on business to “support” human rights; the human rights responsibilities of business in relation to their subsidiaries and supply chain; questions relating to jurisdiction and protection of human rights in situations where a State is unwilling or unable to protect human rights; sector specific studies identifying the different challenges faced by business from sector to sector; and situation specific studies, including the protection of human rights in conflict zones.

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