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20 Aug 2014

Damiano de Felice, London School of Economics & Political Science

Working paper on Thun Group's approach to UN Guiding Principles

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"Banks and Human Rights: The Thun Group and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights", 1 May 2014

The publication of the Thun Group's discussion paper "The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: An Interpretation for Banks" represented a critical step in the way to delineate the relationship between the financial sector and human rights: the document aims to lay the foundations for the adoption of the first ever comprehensive guide on how universal banks should operationalise their responsibility to respect human rights. As the arguments offered by the Thun Group are likely to influence the way in which numerous financial institutions integrate human rights into their operations, this paper offers a critical assessment of the discussion paper. Notwithstanding several positive features, the Thun Group relies on a faulty subsidiary approach, avoids fundamental issues like access to effective remedy and downplays the importance of effective engagement with affected stakeholders.