Despite progress and innovation in key sectors of the United States’ economy, too many loopholes remain to adequately protect human rights from adverse business practices, a group of United Nations independent experts today warned.
While the US Government has committed to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, and established a number of relevant initiatives, “it is not facing the challenge of putting them into practice,” said Michael Addo, who along with Puvan Selvanathan, completed a 10-day mission to the US as representative members of the UN Working Group on business and human rights.
The Guiding Principles outline how States and businesses should implement the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework to better manage business and human rights challenges.
The framework is based on three pillars – the State duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, through appropriate policies, regulation, and adjudication; the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means avoiding infringing on the rights of others and to address adverse impacts that occur; and greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.
From the low wage industries in the services sector, the UN experts met with Government officials, business leaders, civil society and UN organizations in Washington DC, as well as in Florida, California, West Virginia, New York and Arizona.
“The UN experts heard allegations of significant and widespread labour practices that, if correct, would be both illegal under US laws, as well as fall below international standards,” the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) said in a news release.