The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) are the current authoritative global standard for government and business on preventing and addressing business-related human rights harms. The Australian Government co-sponsored the resolution at the United Nations to adopt the UNGPs.
June 2021 marked the 10-year anniversary of the introduction of the UNGPs. The Australian Human Right Commission and Australian Human Rights Institute, UNSW have partnered to release a joint report on the implementation of the UNGPs in Australia over the past decade.
The report considers progress and identifies gaps around UNGPs implementation in Australia around six key business and human rights issues:
- Combating modern slavery
- Embedding human rights due diligence into business practice
- Respecting the land rights of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people
- Addressing the adverse human rights impacts of climate change
- Leveraging the role of institutional investors
- Ensuring access to remedy for victims
The report finds that much work remains to be done to address significant gaps in corporate accountability for adverse human rights impacts, to ensure victims have access to remedy, and to operationalise the business ‘responsibility to respect’ human rights in Australia. The report has laid out a call to action for Government, business and investors with a set of recommendations for more substantive implementation of the UNGPs.