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Human Rights Policy

Presentation on Ruggie framework and how it relates to human rights policy
by

David Vermijs

on 12 May 2010

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Transcript of Human Rights Policy

Human Rights Policy Contex State of Pla ngredients itfalls/Dilemmas 7000 signatories UN Global Compact
250 Companies with HR policy in Public domain
Relatively few with stand alone statement (50 max)

Numbers Content
Often relatively short (1-2 pages)
No uniformity
Little evidence there is an underlying implementation policy
How does a human rights policy fit in the wider due diligence framework?
General commitment
Steps taken to develop policy (eg. stakeholder consultation)
Detailed provisions on labor rights
Provisions on non-labor rights
Who is responsible for implementation of the policy
To whom the policy applies 2008 Ruggie report: "Companies need to adopt a human rights policy. Broad aspirational language may be used to describe respect for human rights, but more detailed guidance in specific functional areas is necessary to give those commitments meaning." Things to consider:
Various levels (mission, business principles, stand-alone)
"ambition level" (Respect or beyond?)
Guidance in specific functional areas (eg. security, M&A, community relations) of a human rights statement (mid-level) Limiting (by principle) rights, stakeholders, tiers in the chain (eg. tin)
Responsibility should be based on potential and actual impacts, not influence or size
Human rights cannot be off-set (respect is base line)
Stand alone or not? ("normalization dilemma")


Company recognizes that business can potentially affect a wide array of rights, and therefore does not in advance exclude from consideration particular rights outlined in the above international instruments. Nonetheless, Company periodically assesses—through analyzing its activities, relationships and portfolios, and by dialogue with stakeholders—which human rights are most material to its business. This process is intended to provide targeted guidance to employees. Notwithstanding, Company maintains general sensitivity to human rights, for example by [including human rights in its Business Principles]. Our commitment is guided by human rights as formulated in the international bill of human rights, consisting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Two Covenants, as well as the ILO Core Conventions. Company is furthermore bound by the national law of the countries where it operates. Where national law conflicts with any of the other standards that Company is committed to [including the Global Compact principles and its own policies and procedures], it respects the national law, while aiming to honor the spirit of international human rights principles. Special Representative Ruggie has presented human rights due diligence to consist of four components: i) having a human rights policy, ii) assessing human rights impacts of company activities, ii) integrating those values and findings into corporate cultures and management systems, and iv) tracking as well as reporting performance. He has also stressed the importance of grievance mechanisms. While recognizing the importance of ongoing learning and improvement and that one-size-fits-all does not apply to human rights, Company aims to carry out human rights due diligence in the following ways: ttention Points Recognition that all rights are potentially relevant, but also find focus
International bill of rights and ILO core conventions underlying the policy
Addressing how users of policy should cope with conflicts between national law and international standards
Follow human rights due diligence framework in policy?
Detailed guidance in specific functional areas
Cross reference to other policies (hierarchy?) "Our commitment is guided by human rights as formulated in the international bill of human rights, consisting of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights and the Two Covenants, as well as the ILO Core Conventions." "Company recognizes that business can potentially affect a wide array of rights, and therefore does not in advance exclude from consideration particular rights outlined in the above international instruments. Nonetheless, Company periodically assesses—through analyzing its activities, relationships and portfolios, and by dialogue with stakeholders—which human rights are most material to its business. This process is intended to provide targeted guidance to employees. Notwithstanding, Company maintains general sensitivity to human rights, for example by [including human rights in its Business Principles]."
"Company is furthermore bound by the national law of the countries where it operates. Where national law conflicts with any of the other standards that Company is committed to [including the Global Compact principles and its own policies and procedures], it respects the national law, while aiming to honor the spirit of international human rights principles." "Special Representative Ruggie has presented human rights due diligence to consist of four components: i) having a human rights policy, ii) assessing human rights impacts of company activities, ii) integrating those values and findings into corporate cultures and management systems, and iv) tracking as well as reporting performance. He has also stressed the importance of grievance mechanisms. While recognizing the importance of ongoing learning and improvement and that one-size-fits-all does not apply to human rights, Company aims to carry out human rights due diligence in the following ways:" UN Special Representative

Harvard Professor John Ruggie appointed by Kofi Annan
Currently "game in town" wrt business and human rights
Three pillar framework:
1. State duty to protect
2. Corporate responsbility to respect
3. Access to remedies
Companies can fulfil their responsbility to respect human rights by conducting human rights due diligence

From a Ruggie Perspective Security forces
•Security forces
•Human resources
•Community liaisons
•Procurement staff
•Project management
•M&A
•Etc.
Thank you!

david.vermijs@gmail.com
Full transcript