NGOs propose recommendations to enhance independence of UN Working Group mandate holders


CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales), Conectas Human Rights and Dejusticia Derecho-Justicia-Sociedad prepared a document entitled “Enhancing the independence, impartiality and legitimacy of the UN Working  Group on Business and Human Rights”. The organizations highlighted principles for the selection and appointment of mandate holders of the Working Group, considering  the vacancy for a member from Latin America.


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3 March 2015

Full set of recommendations

Author: CELS (Centro de Estudios Legales y Sociales), Conectas, Dejusticia

“UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights: Enhancing its independence, impartiality and legitimacy”, February 2015

The unique environment in which the [UN Working Group] on Business and Human Rights operates and the peculiar features of its mandate…require greater attention to the particular factors that may influence its ability to act independently and impartially. The adoption of additional criteria in order to achieve such independence and impartiality may be desirable in order to secure such fundamental ethical value...


a) Disclosure System: ...we recommend that current and prospective members of the UN Working Group...voluntarily prepare and disclose a document declaring his or her professional record, including employment in specific companies, as well as board memberships, and comment on any potential conflicts of interest which might arise from their professional background and the position as mandate-holders, as well as measures to mitigate such conflicts.

b) Diversity: It is recommended that the mandate-holders are selected not only on the basis of their geographical distribution, but rather, and more importantly, so that the composition of the WG reflects a diversity of profiles, worldviews, mindsets and backgrounds...

c) “Cooling off” or quarantine mechanism: ...members, for a period of two years after the end of the respective mandates, refrain from undertaking certain activities that could potentially raise a conflict of interest with their status as former UN mandate-holders...

d) Funding:  ...we recommend that all forms of financing originated from business enterprises to the Group shall be prohibited...

Download the full document here