Business and Human Rights – a journey but not the final destination

A very important discussion about the challenges and risks to Swiss business moderated by Dr Klaus Leisinger took place in Geneva yesterday. Professor John Ruggie, the man who has brought the discussion on business and human rights to centre stage globally, told his attentive audience about this journey. Kofi Annan appointed Ruggie as special Representative on Business and Human Rights in 2005, and he was given a complex mandate.  He was to look at multinational activity and clarify some crucial issues; corporate responsibility, complicity and sphere of influence in particular.  Professor Ruggie was then to give recommendations as to how all of these issues should be handled or regulated globally. Not an easy task! Continue reading

Business says Human Rights are not negotiable!

The 3rd annual Forum on business and human rights is underway as I write.  About 2,000 people from business, governments and civil society have come to the UN in Geneva and the discussion is riveting!

Mo Ibrahim, the Chairperson of the Forum opened up the session with good advice to all participants. The UN Guiding Principles (UNGP) on business and human rights is a great achievement, said Dr Ibrahim but now “the time has come to deliver”!

Annual processes to measure progress, monitoring systems , publication of results are necessary now and  this needs to be carried out by an independent , credible organization funded by governments, business and civil society.   “Business has a role to play to support and uphold society and civil society must drive change”- we were off to a good start. Continue reading