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 general view of participants during the 54nd session of the Human Rights Council News

New Paper Unlocks the Potential of the UN Human Rights Council in Global Conflict Prevention

3 November 2023

Our new policy brief Delivering the Right to Peace: Towards a Reinforced Role of the Human Rights Council in the UN's Peace and Security Framework delves into the possibilities of enhancing the Human Rights Council's involvement in the UN's peace and security functions.

Read more

Keyboard with helpdesk News

New Paper Discusses the Establishment of a Global Helpdesk on Business and Human Rights

11 December 2023

Our new Research Brief discusses the proposal to establish a global helpdesk on business and human rights at the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights.

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

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

A destroyed camp for internally displaced persons (IDPs) in Khor Abeche, South Darfur, Project

Understanding the Relationship between Conflict, Security and the Human Right to a Clean, Healthy and Sustainable Environment

Started in May 2023

This project will develop guidance to inform security, human rights and environmental debates on the linkages between environmental rights and conflict, and how their better management can serve as a tool in conflict prevention, resilience and early warning.

Read more

Session of the UN Human Rights Committee Project

Treaty Body Review 2020 and Beyond

Started in January 2018

The Geneva Human Rights Platform contributes to this review process by providing expert input via different avenues, by facilitating dialogue on the review among various stakeholders, as well as by accompanying the development of a follow-up resolution to 68/268 in New York and in Geneva.

Read more

Cover Page of Research Brief Publication

Unpacking the Burgeoning Challenge of Environmental Protection and the Right to Food in the Context of Armed Conflict

published on April 2024

Erica Harper, Junli Lim

Read more