26 July 2020

OnFriday, 17 July, the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded its forty-fourth regularsession after adopting 23 resolutions. Norway in particular was satisfied withthe outcome of this regular session, having worked very hard to get a resolutionon business and human rights.

Duringthis session, the Council held 29 meetings, seven debates and 35 interactivedialogues, including with the High Commissioner on her annual report, as wellas with 22 Special Procedures mandate holders, two commissions of inquiry andtwo special representatives of the Secretary-General, covering over 50 humanrights themes and 40 country situations.

On 17 July, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus aresolution that will contribute to an increased focus on theimplementation of the Uunited NationsGuidingPrinciples on Business and Human Rights (UNGP).Norway led the resolution negotiations.

“Through this resolution, the Human Rights Council sends a clear messageto states and companies that measures to remedy the economic effects ofcovid-19 must not take place at the expense of human rights. The measures mustcontribute to promoting responsible business in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles”, said Norwegian State Secretary Marianne Hagen.

The resolution calls on states to strengthen the implementation of the Guiding Principles through the development of legislation and through their ownaction plans, and to report on follow-up annually.

The resolution also recognizes the need to promote gender equality in business, and to strengthenwomen’s access to redress and compensation in cases where companies havecontributed to violating their rights.

The resolution will give United Nations member states an opportunity to assess the principles and strengthen their implementation, through a separate debate in the Human Rights Council in connection with thetenth anniversaryof the GuidingPrinciples on Business and Human Rights next year.

"A well-functioning and responsible business community is crucial toachieve the sustainability goals and to ensure an effective response to theeconomic effects of covid-19
. It is important that companies carry out duediligence assessments and that they can show how they work to avoid harm topeople, society and the environment," said State Secretary Hagen.Norway played a major role in the development of the United Nations GuidingPrinciples, which were unanimously adoptedin 2011. The principles have in a short time developed into the prevailinginternational standard in this area. Norway is one of more than 20 countriesthat have prepared a national action plan. 

MF July 2020