Progress on business and human rights Guiding Principles examined

Date: 26th July 2016
Category: General principles, Incorporation

The Joint Committee on Human Rights is considering the progress made by the Government in implementing the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights, by means of the National Action Plan published in 2013 and revised in May 2016.

Ahead of the evidence session, Committee Chair Harriet Harman noted that in 2011, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights established the standards that need to be met by governments and businesses to address and remedy human rights abuses committed in business operations. In 2013, the UK Government committed to following these principles via the National Action Plan, and in May this year it produced a report outlining the progress it has made.

The Committee are eager to hear if NGOs and think tanks share the Government's view that the UK remains a world leader in the human rights and business agenda. They will also be looking at where current policy can be improved: Are businesses being as transparent in their operations as they should be? Have effective mechanisms been set up for those affected by human rights abuses to seek redress?

Harriet Harman commented that:

"It is important that we have the right mechanisms in place to ensure that the companies operating in our country are behaving responsibly wherever they operate. No one should be put at harm to provide the products or services we take for granted."