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U.S. Statement on Business and Human Rights
September 27, 2012

General Comment by the United States
As Delivered by Ambassador Eileen Chamberlain Donahoe

The United States is pleased to co-sponsor and join consensus on the important issue of business and human rights, including the implementation of the Guiding Principles as a framework for addressing a wide range of challenges raised by the business and human rights agenda.

In this context, we continue to stress the importance of States’ implementation of their obligations under human rights law with respect to their own conduct. For states that violate human rights, it is then difficult for businesses to respect them. As the Guiding Principles remind us, it is important that States govern justly and effectively, and that individuals are protected from misconduct from both State and non-State actors. Our conviction regarding the State’s “duty to protect” is grounded in the moral and political imperative to engage in good governance, by properly addressing acts of abuse by private actors. International human rights law tells us that, in certain circumstances, a State’s obligations can be implicated by private conduct.  Yet governments have an imperative to provide for and improve the well-being of our populations, even where our obligations under international law do not require it. Our support for the resolution is based on this understanding.

We thank the Office of the Secretary General for the recommendations of its important report and its continued efforts in pushing forward the business and human rights agenda. The United States supports the integration and operationalization of the Guiding Principles into the UN system where appropriate. These efforts will prove to be a valuable approach towards progress on the business and human rights issue.

Thank you.