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Have the Voluntary Principles realised their full potential?

Author: Salil Tripathi, Institute for Human Rights and Business, Published on: 17 March 2010

On...[their] tenth anniversary..The VPs [Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights] now have five more participating governments...and 17 companies...are part of the process...The VPs are used as part of training by many companies internally, as well as by some private security companies... The International Finance Corporation cites elements of the VPs as part of its performance standards... But it is...legitimate..to ask, if...the VPs have realized their full potential... The VPs...are...a code of behaviour which companies are expected to internalize...[I]t does not clearly specify how that is to be done, leaving all stakeholders – businesses, governments, and human rights groups - with different expectations of what’s required... Its process can be more transparent, its lessons more widely shared, and the principles could apply across different sectors.... At 10, the participants of the VPs have to rise to that challenge.

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