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13 Jul 2020

Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights

UN Human Rights "Issues Paper" on legislative proposals for mandatory human rights due diligence by companies

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June 2020

A number of governments have recently either introduced, or have announced their intention to consider the introduction of, legislative regimes to encourage or require companies and corporate groups to carry out mandatory human rights due diligence. There appears to be particular momentum behind these proposals in some European Union (EU) and European Economic Area (EEA) member states...

However, there is not one, single model for mandatory human rights due diligence regimes... 

For a productive and meaningful discussion on mandatory human rights due diligence regimes to take place, all actors policy-makers, legislators, businesses, trade unions, civil society organisations and other stakeholders need to be clear about the different design options available and the trade-offs between different choices, and be prepared to analyse each of these options carefully in order to maximise the positive impact of such regulatory measures while mitigating the risks of any unwanted consequences.

This paper aims to contribute to the present conversation about mandatory human rights due diligence regimes by unpacking some of the main choices that policy-makers and legislators will be confronted with in the course of forthcoming consultations and discussions, both at the domestic level and internationally, and the advantages and disadvantages of each...