Doing Business Right – Monthly Report – October 2018 - By Shamistha Selvaratnam

Editor’s note: Shamistha Selvaratnam is a LLM Candidate of the Advanced Masters of European and International Human Rights Law at Leiden University in the Netherlands and an intern with the Doing Business Right project at the Asser Institute. Prior to commencing the LLM, she worked as a business and human rights solicitor in Australia where she specialised in promoting business respect for human rights through engagement with policy, law and practice. 


This report compiles all relevant news, events and materials on Doing Business Right based on the coverage provided on our twitter feed @DoinBizRight and on various websites. You are invited to contribute to this compilation via the comments section below, feel free to add links to important cases, documents and articles we may have overlooked.

The Headlines 

Fourth session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights

From 15 to 19 October 2018, the fourth session of the open-ended intergovernmental working group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights took place in Geneva. A first reading of the zero draft of the proposed binding business and human rights treaty was conducted and those in attendance at the session exchanged views, suggestions, improvements and areas of concern regarding each article of the treaty. The draft Optional Protocol was also presented during the session. Key themes that arose during the session included the importance of the treaty aligning with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), the indirect imposition of human rights obligations on businesses, the scope of businesses covered by the treaty and legal liability. For a summary of the views exchanged by those in attendance at the session with respect to the treaty, please refer to our recent blog post.

States and other stakeholders have been invited to submit their comments and proposals on the treaty by the end of February 2019 and the Chair-Rapporteur will prepare a revised draft of the treaty in the meantime, the text of which will be presented in June 2019. The revised draft will be negotiated during the fifth session of the working group which is set to take place in October 2019.

UN issues guidance on human rights due diligence

The UN working group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises recently released guidance on: (a) key features of human rights due diligence; (b) current gaps and challenges; (c) emerging good practices; and (d) how key stakeholders can contribute to the scaling-up of effective human rights due diligence. The UN General Assembly resolution notes that due diligence is ‘fundamental as a way of informing what any business enterprise should do to meet its responsibility to respect human rights.’ It states that human rights due diligence should be undertaken to prevent adverse human rights impacts, be commensurate with the severity and likelihood of such adverse impacts, and be ongoing.

The working group has made a number of recommendations to states, business enterprises and entities in the investment community in order to improve business human rights due diligence practices. For example, the working group recommends that business enterprises that have not yet implemented human rights due diligence approaches ‘just get started’. For those businesses that have already adopted human rights due diligence policies and processes that are aligned with the UNGPs, the working group recommends that they ‘continue on the journey’ and ‘seek to continuously enhance approaches’ For States, the working group recommends that they use legislation to ‘create incentives to exercise due diligence’, including through the imposition of mandatory requirements. 

International organisations publications and statements

National governments publications and statements

NGO and Law Firm publications and statements

In Court

In the News

Speeches, Videos and Interviews

Academic Materials


Asser Institute Doing Business Right Blog


Call for Papers and Abstracts

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