Human Rights

Last checked on:
10 April 2024
Published on:
12 August 2019

When dealing with staff and external relations, your business is responsible for respecting human rights. More and more businesses include this topic in a code of conduct. A good relationship with residents living near your business is vital for the success of your investment.

International human rights treaties

You may use the international human rights treaties to guide you when drawing up your code of conduct. The 2011 UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (PDF) is a good example. In this document, you can find agreements on the duty of the public authorities to protect human rights, the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights, and the right of victims of human rights violations to access judicial remedy. These principles are based on the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (PDF) adopted by the United Nations General Assembly 1948.

Business and human rights

Examples of human rights you should think of are:

1. Working conditions in the company

No child labour or forced labour, no discrimination, freedom of association, occupational health and safety, and terms of employment. For more information, please visit RBC information on working conditions.

2. Supply chain responsibility

What impact do the activities of your business partners have on the rights of employees, local people or other stakeholders? For more information, please see information on supply chain responsibility.

3. Impact on the local community

Are local landowners receiving sufficient compensation in the case of compulsory purchase? Is your business taking care not to endanger the health and safety of local people? Does your organisation have a complaints procedure? Is your business taking care not to endanger local farmers' right to existence when using water? What is your position on corruption? Are your products a risk to consumer health and safety?

OECD Human Rights Guidelines

If you use our subsidies and funding programmes, you must follow the OECD Guidelines. For more information, see the OECD Human Rights Guidelines and our information page on the OECD Guidelines.

Use one of the following tools to write a code of conduct for your business:

If you need further assistance drawing up your code of conduct, please contact us.

Commissioned by:
  • Ministry of Foreign Affairs
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