UN: Responsible business means acting with respect for human rightsListen /
Governments have been urged make extra effort to address human rights violations that have played a large part in facilitating and sustaining the current economic crisis.
United Nations Human Rights Chief Navi Pillay says demands for greater political freedom go hand in hand with demands that the rule of law apply to all, including in the business and private sectors.
Speaking at the start of the first ever forum on Business and Human Rights in Geneva, Ms Pillay said international human rights law requires governments to protect their citizens from human rights abuses by third parties, including business and financial actors.
"People are demanding freedom: freedom from fear and freedom from want—as the principal responsibilities of those who exercise power. They are demanding that the rule of law apply to all — including in the economic sphere. They are demanding dignity—as the central purpose of our economic and political systems. Responsible business means acting with respect for human rights, reflecting the fact that long-term business prospects are tightly coupled with society's well-being. Markets too must be subject to the rule of law, and embedded in broader values, foremost amongst them international human rights. These are not new requirements undertaken by governments; they have been part of the international human rights regime for many decades."
The Business and Human Rights Forum is designed to promote the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, a set of internationally accepted principles which provide a global standard for preventing and addressing the risk of negative human rights impacts linked to business activity.
Patrick Maigua United Nations Radio, Geneva