Business and Human Rights

An Oxfam perspective on the UN Guiding Principles

Publication date: 13 June 2013
Author: Rachel Wilshaw, Ethical Trade Manager, Oxfam GB; Bryony Timms, Senior Research Officer in Fundraising Partnerships, Oxfam GB; Sophie Niven, Research and Communications Officer in Fundraising Partnerships, Oxfam GB

This briefing outlines the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), also known as the Ruggie Framework.

It provides an overview of the UNGPs and gives an Oxfam perspective, including case studies, on key issues for businesses.

Key recommendations from the report: 
  • The UNGPs should be implemented with a special focus on the rights and needs of groups who are particularly vulnerable to human rights abuses linked to business practices.
  • Companies need proactively to track human rights risks throughout their business operations. Transparency in communicating the results of these processes is important, as the UNGPs emphasize the need for companies to understand and disclose risks early and often.
  • Where national legislation prescribes minimum standards or benefits relating to human rights which may set a low bar for compliance, international companies need to exceed those minimum standards or benefits.


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