- MANDATE OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE ISSUE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS
- COMPOSITION AND WORKING METHODS
- CONTACT INFORMATION
MANDATE OF THE WORKING GROUP ON THE ISSUE OF HUMAN RIGHTS AND TRANSNATIONAL CORPORATIONS
The Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises is one of the thematic special procedures overseen by the United Nations Human Rights Council. It examines the developing standards regarding the roles and responsibilities of business enterprises with respect to human rights. One of the main functions of the Working Group is to promote the dissemination and implementation of the “Protect, Respect, Remedy” framework outlined in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The Guiding Principles are a reference point for the Working Group as it conducts country visits, promotes best practices on the implementation of the Guiding Principles, and makes recommendations concerning the development of domestic law related to business and human rights. The Working Group also dialogues with governments, business enterprises, UN bodies, specialized agencies, funds, programmes, civil society groups, and other relevant actors about business and human rights.
The Working Group also guides the work of the Forum on Business and Human Rights. The Forum on Business and Human Rights is a forum for relevant stakeholders, such as States, UN bodies, intergovernmental and nongovernmental organizations, civil society groups, and labor unions, to discuss trends and challenges in implementing the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and promoting cooperation and in engaging in dialogue with these groups. The UN Human Rights Council established the Forum on Business and Human Rights in 2011 with Resolution 17/4. The Forum meets annually for an average of three days.
The Working Group must apply a gender perspective throughout the work of his or her mandate and must give special attention to persons living in vulnerable situations, particularly children.
COMPOSITION AND WORKING METHODS
Five independent experts make up the Working Group, with equitable geographical representation being one of the criteria for appointment. Typically, the Working Group meets for three sessions per year, with each session lasting four working days. The mandate of the Working Group lasts for a period of three years.
The Human Rights Council established the Working Group in 2011 with Resolution 17/4. The Council extended the mandate in 2014 with Resolution 26/22.
In fulfilling its mandate, the Working Group supports the Forum on Business and Human Rights, undertakes country visits, hosts consultations and forums with stakeholders, communicates with governments concerning information and complaints received regarding alleged rights violations, surveys States and businesses on their implementation of the Guiding Principles, and provides guidance to States.
Forum on Business and Human Rights
The Working Group guides the work of the Forum on Business and Human Rights, which meets annually for two days, and gathers relevant stakeholders to discuss trends and challenges in the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and to promote dialogue and cooperation on related issues.
The Working Group carries out country visits, on the basis of an invitation from the country concerned. Through country visits, the Working Group studies the situation within the country and can then make recommendations to the State about how to address the adverse impacts of business activities on human rights.
The Working Group intends to conduct two country visits per year, to States that have extended an invitation. View the list of previous country visits and the Working Group’s subsequent reports here.
More than 100 countries have extended standing invitations to country visits by all thematic special procedures. View the list of countries that have extended standing invitations here.
Consultations and Forums
During its sessions, the Working Group may hold open consultations or panel discussions on issues related to its mandate.
Receiving Information & Complaints
The Working Group receives, and may proactively request, information from all relevant sources related to the fulfillment of its mandate. Importantly, the Working Group cannot investigate or make decisions concerning individual complaints. Unlike other special procedures, the Working Group does not issue letters of allegation or urgent appeals to States concerning alleged violations. Rather, it uses the information obtained through submissions to guide its work, particularly in identifying gaps in the effective implementation of the Guiding Principles and in making recommendations to States, businesses, and other actors. Information can be submitted by email to: [email protected].
The Working Group publishes the submissions it receives in response to specific calls for information.
The Working Group develops and circulates surveys to learn about UN Member States’ and businesses’ efforts to implement the Guiding Principles. These surveys and their results are published on the Working Group’s surveys webpage.
The Working Group provides guidance to States and other actors in implementing the Guiding Principles, including by publishing guides and other tools, on the development of national action plans and other topics.
Reports to the UN General Assembly and Human Rights Council
The Working Group reports annually to the Human Rights Council and the UN General Assembly on all of its activities relating to its mandate. These reports are available on the Working Group’s Reports and Other Documents webpage.
Contact the Working Group via email at: [email protected].