Business, Human Rights and Conflict-Affected Regions

Completed in June 2022

The United Nations (UN) Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) provide a global normative framework, backed by UN member states, that clarifies state duties and business responsibilities related to business related-human rights abuse. They are the common reference point for efforts to address adverse human rights impacts arising in a business context and have been widely integrated into both public and private sector policy frameworks.

These principles are of particular importance in conflict-affected regions, where the worst forms of business-related human rights abuse tend to happen.

As part of its mandate to promote the UN Guiding Principles, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG) published a report aimed at clarifying the practical steps that states and business enterprises should take to implement the UNGPs in conflict and post-conflict contexts.

The report Business, Human Rights and Conflict-Affected Regions: Towards Heightened Action (A/75/212) identifies a series of policies and tools to ensure that business activity does not lead to human rights abuse, stimulate or exacerbate conflict or hinder peacebuilding. It also highlights two areas requiring further work: the need for more granularity in the existing guidance for states, businesses, and other relevant actors; and the need to continue addressing existing gaps and policy misalignments across the various actors.

The Research

This research aimed at supporting the UNWG to develop specific guidance for states, international and other organizations, and businesses in order to foster business respect for human rights in conflict-affected regions. It is part of a wider engagement with various UN Special Procedures that involve reinforced research, stakeholder outreach, and organization of Geneva-based events and consultations.

OUTPUT

Guidance to Ensure Business' Respect for Human Rights in Conflict-Affected Regions

The research addressed the following key questions that supported the development of concrete guidance to avoid business-related human rights abuse in conflict and post-conflict settings:

  • What are the appropriate policies, regulations, and adjudication to protect against corporate-related human rights abuses in conflict and post-conflict situations?
  • What specific measures should businesses take in conflict and post-conflict situations, including implementing ‘enhanced due diligence?
  • What is the role and what actions should be taken (and avoided) by actors in the traditional peace and security architecture, including key UN actors such as OHCHR, UNDP, DPPA, the Peacebuilding Support Office, and the Peacebuilding Commission as well as the Security Council?
  • What is the role of business in transitional justice?

This research has notably been taken into account in the UNWG and UNDP novel Guide on Heightened Human Rights Due Diligence for Business in Conflict-Affected Contexts that offers guidance to businesses and other actors on how to meet their responsibilities to carry out a heightened version of human rights due diligence in conflict-affected areas.

MORE ON THIS THEMATIC AREA

A GHRP training course News

Geneva Human Rights Platform’s Training Hub: Expanding Offerings and Partnerships for 2024

16 February 2024

2023 has been a busy and fruitful year for our Geneva Human Rights Platform’s Training Hub which starts 2024 with an enhanced offer.

Read more

News

Third Season of ‘In and Around War(s)’ Launches with Episode on Weaponizing of Water

2 May 2024

Our podcast In and Around War(s) returns for a third season with the first episode discussing the weaponization of water.

Read more

Digital Justice Event

Digital Bridges to Justice: Enhancing Human Rights and SDG Monitoring through Innovative Technologies

3 July 2024, 13:15-14:45

This panel discussion will showcase the transformative potential of digital technologies in monitoring and implementing SDG 16, its interlinkages with other SDGs, and UN human rights recommendations.

Read more

Treaty Body Follow Up Sierra Leone Event

Strengthening Human Rights Through Regional Engagement: Lessons from the Treaty Body Follow-Up Review Pilot Series

28 June 2024, 13:15-14:45

This side-event to the 36th Annual Meeting of the Treaty Bodies Chairpersons aims to present the findings of the Geneva Human Rights Platform Treaty Body Follow-Up Review Pilot Series.

Read more

A general view of participants during of the 33nd ordinary session of the Human Rights Council. Training

The Universal Periodic Review and the UN Human Rights System: Raising the Bar on Accountability

11-15 November 2024

This training course will explore the origin and evolution of the Universal Periodic Review (UPR) and its functioning in Geneva and will focus on the nature of implementation of the UPR recommendations at the national level.

Read more

Open dump Training

Protecting Human Rights and the Environment

2-20 September 2024

Participants in this training course, made of two modules, will examine the major international and regional instruments for the promotion of human rights and the environment, familiarizing themselves with the respective implementation and enforcement mechanisms.

Read more

Iraq, Mosul. View of the west bank after the war. Project

IHL in Focus

Started in January 2024

As a yearly publication, it keeps decision-makers, practitioners and scholars up-to-date with the latest trends and challenges in IHL implementation in over 100 armed conflicts worldwide – both international and non-international.

Read more

Computer screen with warning: civilian infrastucture: do not attack Project

The Digitalization of Armed Conflict

Started in September 2020

This project will explore humanitarian consequences and protection needs caused by the digitalization of armed conflicts and the extent to which these needs are addressed by international law, especially international humanitarian law.

Read more

Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Between Science-Fact and Science-Fiction Innovation and Ethics in Neurotechnology

published on May 2024

Milena Costas, Timo Istace

Read more