In 2011, the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the “UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.”  Under the Guiding Principles, States have a duty to protect human rights, businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights, and both States and businesses have important roles in realizing the right of victims to an effective remedy.  As part of their responsibility, businesses must undertake human rights due diligence.

Everyday, around the world, countless victims continue to suffer adverse impacts from exposure to hazardous substances due to business activities.  For example, one worker dies every minute due to the use of hazardous substances in the workplace.  And, for these victims who suffer adverse health or other negative impacts due to hazardous substances used, produced or released by business activities, many remain without an effective remedy.

The responsibility of businesses to respect human rights is a focus area of the UN Special Rapporteur under his mandate.   The Special Rapporteur works closely with the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights and other experts in this area.  Each thematic report highlights the responsibilities of businesses to respect human rights. Further information on the role of the private sector is available in the Special Rapporteur’s statements and press releases.