An Evaluation of the Institutionalisation of Corporate Human Rights Due Diligence
16 Pages Posted: 28 Jul 2012 Last revised: 1 Feb 2015
Date Written: July 26, 2012
This paper analyses the concept of ‘human rights due diligence’ as formulated by John Ruggie, the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, in his ‘protect, respect and remedy’ Framework and the Guiding Principles which implement that framework.
The paper explores the core elements of ‘due diligence’ as set out by Ruggie and highlights the similarities of the due diligence process to that of human rights impact assessment (HRIA). It argues that to implement the due diligence principle effectively, lessons must be learnt from previous experience of ‘institutionalising HRIAs’ as well as from analogous self-reflective regulatory processes. Such experience dictates that there are three essential elements, beyond those set out by Ruggie, that are pre-requisites of effective due diligence – requirements of transparency; external participation and verification; and monitoring and review. The required content of these elements is explored and recommendations made for minimum standards in relation to each element. The paper concludes that, without adherence to these standards, the human rights community and TNCs themselves should reject the principle of human rights due diligence as a pointless and self-defeating endeavour.
Keywords: Multinational companies, transnational corporations, Human Rights, human rights due diligence, human rights impact assessment, equality impact assessment, Ruggie, UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, soft law, self-reflective regulation, transparency, participation, verification
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