The human rights obligations of business: A critical framework for the future

David Bilchitz, Surya Deva

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingChapterpeer-review

11 Citations (Scopus)


Business and human rights: four key questions In the last decade or so, significant developments have taken place at the international level in articulating the human rights responsibilities of business and devising a regulatory framework which can provide effective remedies to victims of corporate human rights violations. One development that stands out is the work done by Professor John Ruggie, who was appointed in July 2005 as the Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises (SRSG). After submitting two reports to the United Nations Human Rights Council (HRC), in 2006 and 2007, the SRSG proposed the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework (Framework) in the 2008 report to provide ‘a common conceptual and policy framework, a foundation on which thinking and action can build’. After the Framework was accepted by the HRC and his mandate renewed for another three years, the SRSG focused upon ‘operationalising’ the Framework. This work culminated in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs), which were submitted to the HRC in March 2011 and endorsed on 16 June 2011. The GPs have generally received a positive reception by the international community and have become a sort of common reference point in the area of business and human rights. States, national human rights institutions, multi-stakeholder initiatives, companies, non-governmental organisations (NGOs) and academics have invoked them in diverse ways. However, do the Framework and the GPs adequately address the challenges that arise in considering the relationship between business and human rights? Barring a few exceptions, both these documents have not received a detailed or systematic critical evaluation. This book seeks to fill this gap.

Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationHuman Rights Obligations of Business
Subtitle of host publicationBeyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect?
PublisherCambridge University Press
Number of pages26
ISBN (Electronic)9781139568333
ISBN (Print)9781107036871
Publication statusPublished - 1 Jan 2011

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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