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Frequently asked questions about the guiding principles on business and human rights

image of Frequently asked questions about the guiding principles on business and human rights
In June 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, establishing them as the global expected standard of conduct with regard to business impact on human rights. The Guiding Principles were developed based on six years of research and global multi-stakeholder consultations. These Frequently Asked Questions aim to support stakeholder uptake and understanding of the Guiding Principles. This publication is not intended as an operational guide, and does not change or add to the provisions of the Guiding Principles, but it provides additional background explanation to support a full understanding of their meaning and intent. This FAQ is a resource developed for a general audience and aims to be relevant for all stakeholders, including business, governments, civil society, investors, lawyers and others who are interested in business and human rights issues.

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The corporate responsibility to respect

The second pillar of the Guiding Principles sets out the corporate responsibility to respect human rights. According to the Guiding Principles, this means avoiding infringing on the rights of others and addressing adverse human rights impact that does occur. In other words, a company must operate in a way that does not interfere with or have an adverse impact on the human rights of others, be they employees, community members, consumers or others. This responsibility has been affirmed by the Human Rights Council, and has also been recognized by bodies such as the International Labour Organization, the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development, and the United Nations Global Compact, and is increasingly reflected in the statements of companies themselves, too.

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