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US Holds Workshops to Support UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
June 21, 2012

Clustered Interactive Dialogue with the Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises and the Independent Expert on the Effects of Foreign Debt
Statement by the Delegation of the United States of America
Delivered by Robert Schwartz
Human Rights Council 20th Session
June 21, 2012

Thank you, Madame President.  Our remarks today are directed to the UN Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other BusinessEnterprises.

The United States commends the Working Group for its first report.  We firmly support its work, and encourage other countries to do the same.

The task at hand of transforming the Guiding Principles from paper to practice will be an undertaking of global proportions—one that no one government, region, or sector can accomplish alone.  That is why we seek to collaborate with various stakeholders – including businesses, civil society organizations, and other governments – to support respect for human rights.  We are pleased to see the Working Group doing the same.

The United States aims to support the Working Group by hosting implementation workshops.  Recently, we hosted a workshop with over 80 multinational corporations to discuss how businesses can implement the Guiding Principles in everyday practice.  We plan to convene another workshop for civil society organizations this summer.  We also intend to grant $500,000 to an organization to design and implement projects that will advance the objectives of the UN Guiding Principles.

We strongly encourage other governments to be proactive in this endeavor, and look forward to learning about the accomplishments of other governments in advancing the Guiding Principles.  In doing so, we have two questions:

  • In the opinion of the Working Group, what can governments do to exemplify the State’s duty to protect?
  • How can governments play a role in supporting or creating corporate human rights due diligence standards?

Thank you, Madame President.