Business and Human Rights

Globalization has expanded the sphere of influence of multinational companies, some of which are now more powerful than states. Not being subject to international human rights standards, which are primarily states’ responsibility, many multinational companies are believed directly or indirectly responsible for human rights violations, both civil and political rights, as well as economic, social, cultural and environmental rights and labor law.[1]

Faced with these new challenges, the Human Rights Council (HRC) has proposed a regulatory framework that emphasizes the central role of stakeholders in the protection and respect for human rights in business. In June 2011, the HRC adopted the "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights" organized around three main pillars: "the State duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights and the need for more effective access to remedy for victims of human rights violations. »[2]

Since the adoption of these principles, we are witnessing a proliferation of international and regional multistakeholder dynamic conducted by governments, the private sector, international organisations and civil society organisations which aim to implement the principles of human rights in business and trade relations.

Although the debate on standards and norms related to states’ responsibility and corporate responsibility in human rights is very advanced, the question of implementation continues to represent a real challenge.

In this regard, the second edition of the World Human Rights Forum in Marrakech is an opportunity to address issues that shape the global debate on business and human rights. These include:

• How emerging and developing countries will implement the principles of human rights in their economic policies?

• What role for developed countries in the protection of human rights beyond their borders through investment policies?

• What are the practical implementations of human rights in the value chain of transnational companies, mainly of those operating in so-called high-risk sectors?

Organised at the initiative of the National Council for Human Rights (Morocco) and the International Federation for Human Rights, the forum will bring together international representatives of the regional and national governments, parliamentarians, public institutions, institutions of human rights, businesses, unions, professional associations, civil society, academics and experts.

The forum aims to strengthen a multistakeholder dialogue and cooperation on issues of human rights in business by:

• The exchange on international practices in implementation of the principles of respect for human rights in business operations;
• Strengthening cooperation with regional and global networks in the field of integration of human rights in trade relations;
• identifying courses of action for the development of national action plans for human rights in the workplace.

[1] Among the important sources of information on human rights in business is Business and Human Rights Resource Center :