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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.



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.

Addressing Sector-Wide Risks Through Negotiated Covenants in the Netherlands

July 2015 | Partners: Dutch Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Social and Economic Council of the Netherlands

Shift is supporting the Dutch Ministries of Foreign Affairs and Economic Affairs as part of a process to engage leading Dutch business sectors in developing sector-based covenants to address “international CSR” risks.

Building the Capacity of OECD National Contact Points

October 2014 | Partners: Consensus Building Institute

Over a period of several years, Shift supported several National Contact Point systems to help them better fulfill their role as part of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

Trends in Human Rights Due Diligence and Development Finance

October 2014 | Partners: Nordic Trust Fund

To help World Bank staff better understand how human rights relate to their core work, Shift interviewed issue experts and facilitated a workshop about experiences implementing human rights due diligence.

Treaties and the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: The Way Forward

July 2014 | Caroline Rees

Neither companies nor governments should fear that the treaty process in Geneva is a diversion from, or dilution of, what has been achieved in the last 10 years with the Guiding Principles.

Supporting Norway's Export Credit Agency on the Guiding Principles

June 2014 | Partners: Norwegian Export Credit Guarantee Agency (GIEK)

Shift provided expert support to the Agency in 2013 on policies, stakeholder engagement and grievance pathways related to business and human rights.