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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.



Shift Submission on Potential Modern Slavery Act in Australia

June 2017 | Shift

In May 2017 we submitted a position statement to the Australian government regarding its consideration of creating a regulation on business responsibility related to modern slavery.

John Ruggie Letter to European Commission President Jean-Claude Juncker

February 2017 | John G. Ruggie

Author of the Guiding Principles and Shift Chair John Ruggie writes to the President of the European Commission calling for greater EU leadership on business and human rights issues.

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: Mazars, Boston Common Asset Management, Clinique internationale de défense des droits humains de l’Université de Québec à Montréal, EY, Hermes Investment Management, 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.

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