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Protect

States have a duty to protect human rights against abuse by third parties, including businesses. States are expected to do so by establishing appropriate policies, legislation, regulations and adjudication.

Pillar I: State Duty to Protect

The first pillar of the Guiding Principles provides recommendations on how states can meet their existing international human rights obligations to protect against business-related human rights abuses by creating an environment that is conducive to business respect for human rights, including by:

  • Working to achieve greater legal and policy coherence between their human rights obligations and their actions with respect to business, including by enforcing existing laws, identifying and addressing any policy or regulatory gaps and providing effective guidance to business;
  • Fostering business respect for human rights both at home and abroad;
  • Taking particular measures where there is a close nexus between the state and business such as ownership or when a state conducts commercial transactions with business (such as through government procurement or the provision of trade or export credit support);
  • Helping ensure that businesses operating in conflict-affected areas do not commit or contribute to serious human rights abuses;
  • Fulfilling their duty to protect when they participate in multilateral institutions (e.g., World Bank, OECD) with other states. 

States also have obligations when it comes to providing remedy, which is addressed in Pillar 3.



Making Economic Globalization Work for All: Achieving Socially Sustainable Supply Chains

February 2017 | John G. Ruggie

In this keynote address to G20 countries, Shift Chair and Guiding Principles author John Ruggie argues that effectively managed global supply chains can be significant leverage points to make globalization work better for all.

Shift Submission to Public Consultation on Italian National Action Plan

September 2016 | Shift

In September 2016 we submitted comments to the Italian government to support its development of a National Action Plan on business and human rights.

Shift's Reporting Program

August 2016 | Partners: Clinique internationale de défense des droits humains de l’Université de Québec à Montréal, Ernst & Young, Hermes EOS, Mazars, Walden Asset Management

Through our reporting program we engage with companies, governments, investors and others about how reporting can be a driver of improved business respect for human rights.

Supporting Financial Institutions to Implement the Guiding Principles

August 2016 | Partners: individual export credit agencies, development finance institutions and private banks

Beyond their own responsibility to respect human rights, financial institutions can play a critical role in helping to set expectations for virtually every other industry sector.

Business and Human Rights in New Zealand

July 2016 | Partners: New Zealand Human Rights Commission; New Zealand Superannuation Fund

This educational and awareness series featured a week of discussions on business and human rights in New Zealand.

ESG Toolkit for Fund Managers: Briefing Note on Human Rights

June 2016 | CDC - development financial institution of the UK government

This briefing note, issued by CDC, the development finance institution of the UK, aims to provide fund managers with a practical introduction to human rights.

Improving Accountability and Access to Remedy for Victims of Business-Related Human Rights Abuse

May 2016 | UN High Commissioner for Human Rights; UN Human Rights Council

This report, issued by the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, sets out guidance for states to improve access to judicial remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses.

Preventing Corporate Involvement in Mass Atrocity Crimes

March 2016 | Rachel Davis, Shift; Global Center for the Responsibility to Protect

This resource examines how companies can be involved in mass atrocity crimes, such as genocide, war crimes or crimes against humanity, and how the responsibilities of states and companies intersect when human rights are at heightened risk.

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