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15 Jan 2016

UNEP Finance Initiative & Foley Hoag

Report analyses implications of UN Guiding Principles for banking sector & potential legal liabilities for impacts on human rights

"Banks and Human Rights: A Legal Analysis", Jan 2016

The primary aim of this report is to provide an overview of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…and explore their implications for the banking sector…The report…considers…whether and when banks or their officers might be held liable in domestic or international courts for impacts on human rights…Additionally, the report examines existing soft law and voluntary guidelines relevant to banks…The debate over whether businesses, including banks, have human rights responsibilities has shifted to a conversation aimed at better understanding the nature of those responsibilities…This report is focused on the implications of these developments for banks…Banks face challenges when trying to identify how they might be connected to adverse human rights impacts…and where the resulting parameters of responsibility lie. Despite these uncertainties, the UN Guiding Principles provide a useful framework to help banks identify their impacts and work to address them…