HUMANRIGHTS COUNCIL CONCLUDES FORTY-FOURTH REGULAR SESSION AFTER ADOPTING 23 RESOLUTIONS by Marit Fosse
On Friday, 17 July, the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded its forty-fourth regular session after adopting 23 resolutions. Norway in particular was satisfied with the outcome of this regular session, having worked very hard to get a resolution on business and human rights.
During this session, the Council held 29 meetings, seven debates and 35 interactive dialogues, including with the High Commissioner on her annual report, as well as with 22 Special Procedures mandate holders, two commissions of inquiry and two special representatives of the Secretary-General, covering over 50 human rights themes and 40 country situations.
On 17 July, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution that will contribute to an increased focus on the implementation of the Uunited Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). Norway led the resolution negotiations.
“Through this resolution, the Human Rights Council sends a clear message to states and companies that measures to remedy the economic effects of covid-19 must not take place at the expense of human rights. The measures must contribute 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 own action plans, and to report on follow-up annually. The resolution also recognizes the need to promote gender equality in business, and to strengthen women’s access to redress and compensation in cases where companies have contributed 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 the tenth anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights next year.
“A well-functioning and responsible business community is crucial to achieve the sustainability goals and to ensure an effective response to the economic effects of covid-19. It is important that companies carry out due diligence assessments and that they can show how they work to avoid harm to people, society and the environment,” said State Secretary Hagen.
Norway played a major role in the development of the United Nations Guiding Principles, which were unanimously adopted in 2011. The principles have in a short time developed into the prevailing international standard in this area. Norway is one of more than 20 countries that have prepared a national action plan.
MF Juy 2020