Complicity

For further reports & articles, see the Resource Centre’s general section on Complicity and the Complicity section of our Tools & Guidance Portal.

1. Tools & guidance
2. Examples of uses

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1. Tools & guidance

“Clarifying the Concepts of ‘Sphere of influence’ and “Complicity”, 15 May 2008
This report was published prior to the endorsement of the Guiding Principles.  It was prepared as part of the mandate of John Ruggie, Special Representative of the Secretary-General on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and other Business Enterprises.

“The corporate responsibility to respect human rights: An interpretative guide”, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Nov 2011
Official UN guidance, includes definition of the term “complicity”.[M1] 

“Why human rights matter: Background reader”, Danish Institute for Human Rights, for Rio Tinto, Jan 2013
See section 3.2.3 on complicity.

“UN Forum told that halting business involvement in human rights abuse may require stepped-up laws”, UN News Centre, 4 Dec 2012
“The international community has determined…that sovereignty can no longer serve as a shield behind which governments are allowed to commit or be complicit in the worst human rights violations,” Mr. Ruggie said…“Surely the same must be true of the corporate form…”
- full text & video (5:00) of remarks by Prof John Ruggie, former UN Special Representative on Business & Human Rights
For more from UN Forum on Business and Human Rights, click here

“State of Play: The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in Business Relationships”, Institute for Human Rights and Business & Global Business Initiative on Human Rights, 3 Dec 2012
see pages 49 & 160.

“Corporate Complicity in Human Rights abuses in Latin America”, Marcelo Saguier, National Science and Technology Research Council (CONICET) and Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO), 1 May 2012

“Bad Bedfellows: Avoiding Complicity in Human Rights Violations”, Faris Natour & Peter Nestor, BSR, 13 Dec 2011

“Law Firms’ Implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights”, Advocates for Intl. Development (A4ID), Nov 2011
“The commentary language [of the UN Guiding Principles] makes the observation that, in the court of public opinion…a law firm may be seen as complicit in the human rights impacts of a client as a result of the fees it collects to enable the client’s conduct, regardless of whether the firm is legally responsible for the client’s conduct.”

For further tools & guidance, see the Resource Centre’s Tools & Guidance Portal.


2. Examples of uses

“Corporations’ complicity in human rights abuses” (Indonesia), Mimin Dwi Hartono, investigator at National Commission on Human Rights, in Jakarta Post, 3 Jan 2013

“Business and Human Rights”, UK Trade & Investment, 29 Oct 2012
“Companies should be aware that they may be complicit in human rights abuses even where they are not the direct result of their own action.”

"Conflict Risk Network calls on Italian oil company to ensure it's not fueling Qaddafi", Conflict Risk Network, 1 Aug 2011
“They have a responsibility to respect human rights, and under UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights this means avoiding complicity in abuses committed by others..." [said Shin Furuya of Domini Social Investments]”.

 

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Related stories and components

Article
3 January 2013

Corporations’ complicity in human rights abuses [Indonesia]

Author: Mimin Dwi Hartono, investigator at National Commission on Human Rights, in Jakarta Post

According to...reports of the National Commission on Human Rights (Komnas HAM), corporations were second in rank after the police as parties implicated in human rights abuses...The Guiding Principles emphasize the linkage between business and human...

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Article
1 January 2013

[PDF] Why human rights matter: Background reader

Author: Danish Institute for Human Rights

The aim of this reader is to help practitioners to deepen their knowledge about human rights in the natural resources context...The reader...has six main sections: What are human rights?...Business and human rights...Human rights in Communities work.....

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Article
4 December 2012

UN forum told that halting business involvement in human rights abuse may require stepped-up laws

Author: UN News Centre

Addressing the largest global forum to date on the impact of global business on human rights, [UN High Commissioner for Human Rights, Navi Pillay] today called on delegates to focus on a potential need for heightened legal standards when it comes to...

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Article
4 December 2012

[PDF] Opening Address: United Nations Forum on Business & Human Rights, Geneva Switzerland - John G. Ruggie - 4 December 2012

Author: John Ruggie, Former UN Special Representative on business & human rights

I am honored to have been asked to deliver the opening address and to chair this inaugural United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights. And what an extraordinary gathering it is, in size and diversity—with nearly 1,000 participants from 85...

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Article
3 December 2012

State of Play: The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights in Business Relationships

Author: Institute for Human Rights and Business & Global Business Initiative on Human Rights

[T]he Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) and the Global Business Initiative on Human Rights (GBI) are releasing a new report that takes stock of efforts by a group of 14 international companies to address the human rights impacts...

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Article
29 October 2012

Business and Human Rights [UK]

Author: UK Trade & Investment

Creating growth and prosperity for the UK is at the heart of our foreign policy but as our core values are central to everything we do we need to ensure that success is not achieved at the expense of human rights...The Government is fully committed to...

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Article
1 May 2012

Corporate Complicity in Human Rights abuses in Latin America

Author: Marcelo Saguier, National Science and Technology Research Council (CONICET) and Latin American School of Social Sciences (FLACSO)

The linkages between corporations and human rights have been addressed…mostly as a regulatory challenge...In addition to a responsible and accountable private sector, the promotion of human rights also requires the active role of the state…[The]...

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Article
13 December 2011

Bad Bedfellows: Avoiding Complicity in Human Rights Violations

Author: Faris Natour, Peter Nestor, BSR

Companies are expected to avoid direct violations of human rights, but they are also expected to avoid complicity in violations committed by others...But what does “complicity” mean in this context, and where is the line between legal and illegal...

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Article
1 November 2011

[PDF] Law Firms' Implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business & Human Rights: Discussion Paper

Author: Advocates for Intl. Development (A4ID)

Law firms have played an active role in supporting the development of the Guiding Principles and are advising companies on their application. Counselling clients on their need to take effective steps to prevent and remediate negative human rights...

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Article
1 November 2011

[PDF] The corporate responsibility to respect human rights: An interpretive guide

Author: Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights

United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights...This unprecedented move established the Guiding Principles as the global standard of practice that is now expected of all governments and...

Read more