Copenhagen, Denmark – Human Rights in Business Relationships Event
Commercial business-business and state-business relationships are increasingly central to the global economy. Leveraging private sector expertise and capital alongside the public purpose and know-how of government can work to spur economic growth, job creation, innovation and efficient delivery of public goods. At the same time the activities that state-business relationships are formed to deliver – for example privatization of public goods like water; public-private partnerships for delivery of healthcare; collaboration on large-scale infrastructure projects; joint ventures for resource extraction; or technology purchases and licensing – can have adverse human rights impacts.
The United Nations “Protect, Respect, Remedy” Framework and Guiding Principles (UNGPs) are rooted in a clear distinction between the State Duty to Protect against abuses of human rights by third parties (including business) and the Corporate Responsibility to Respect human rights. On the topic of relationships, the UNGPs offer clear principles to business (explored in a soon to be released joint IHRB/GBI report, “State of Play: Respect for Human Rights in Business Relationships). The UNGPs also outline that states cannot and should not contract our their State Duty to Protect when engaging in commercial relationships.
In light of the above, this event seeks to initiate a dialogue among multiple stakeholders regarding trends, key questions, implementation challenges, and ways forward.