This guide aims to provide concrete support, guidance and a uniform reference framework for civil society organisations (CSOs)to use the United Nations Guiding Principles to address the responsibility of business to respect human rights and thereby support local communities, workers and other rights holders to ensure fulfilment of their human rights. The guide provides a method for CSOs to use the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in company research and advocacy, and helps them to hold companies accountable for their corporate responsibility to respect internationally recognised human rights.
The worldwide expansion of the private sector during the last three decades has been accompanied by a dramatic increase in the societal impacts of this sector, both in positive and negative terms. Multinational enterprises may contribute to economic welfare and employment and thereby contribute to the enjoyment of human rights. At the same time, enterprises can also have a negative impact on human rights worldwide, for instance when they displace indigenous peoples from their lands, when they pollute the environment on which communities are dependent, when they breach labour rights, or when they are closely tied to a regime that violates the rights of its citizens. Such adverse human rights impacts are abundant in the present globalised economy, as profound power imbalances often allow the rights of the most weak and vulnerable to be sacrificed for the interests of powerful enterprises and their shareholders.
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