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Opinion: Business and human rights: Why investors need rules not principles

Author: Rory Sullivan, formerly Head of Responsible Investment at Insight Investment & member of Amnesty Intl. UK Business Group, in Ethical Corporation, Published on: 15 June 2010

The lack of consensus on the human rights obligations of companies...has made it difficult for companies, even those that take a highly proactive approach to managing their human rights issues, to demonstrate that all relevant human rights issues have been identified and properly managed...It has also made it very difficult for investors to properly assess corporate human rights performance...The ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework that has been advanced by the [UN] Special Representative...envisages that companies should conduct due diligence to avoid infringing human rights...However, these proposals are nowhere near enough...First, the Special Representative needs to propose a clear human rights performance framework for companies...Second, the major human rights and development NGOs need to press the Special Representative to develop such a framework and, equally importantly, press companies and investors to support and ensure the effective implementation of such a framework.

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