The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights which were approved by the UN Human Rights Council unanimously in 2011 rests on three pillars: Countries duty to protect human rights, companies’ duty to respect human rights, the third pillar states that victims of human rights violations must have access to remedies.
It has long been clear that since governments signed and ratified human rights conventions they have a duty to ensure such rights are protected, the first pillar was in place but often not implemented. The second pillar enunciated by John Ruggie, Special Representative on Business and Human Rights needed to be understood by business organizations – some of which have larger revenues than many nation states. Now they know- they must ensure this respect everywhere they operate. Not an easy task as some companies have supply chains that stretch across the world.