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UN Human Rights Council: Weak Stance on Business Standards - Global Rules Needed, Not Just Guidance

Author: Human Rights Watch, Published on: 16 June 2011

The UN Human Rights Council squandered an opportunity to take meaningful action to curtail business-related human rights abuses, Human Rights Watch said today. The council...endorsed a set of "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights" and announced the formation of a working group and an annual meeting of business, government, and civil society representatives focused on disseminating and discussing those principles. The council failed to put in place a mechanism to ensure that the basic steps to protect human rights set forth in the Guiding Principles are put into practice, Human Rights Watch said..."In effect, the council endorsed the status quo: a world where companies are encouraged, but not obliged, to respect human rights," said Arvind Ganesan, business and human rights director at Human Rights Watch. "Guidance isn't enough - we need a mechanism to scrutinize how companies and governments apply these principles."...The council disregarded recommendations by dozens of civil society groups, including Human Rights Watch, that called for a strong follow-up to Ruggie's work...

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