Human Rights Council adopts 23 new resolutions

Norway satisfied with the outcome of the regular session

Human Rights Council

Photo: United Nationas Human Rights Council / Flickr

Marit Fosse

On July 17, the United Nations Human Rights Council concluded its 44th regular session, after adopting 23 resolutions. Norway, in particular, was satisfied with the outcome of this regular session, having worked very hard to get a resolution on business and human rights.

During this session, the council held 29 meetings, seven debates, and 35 interactive dialogues. They worked with the high commissioner on her annual report as well as with 22 special procedures mandate-holders, two commissions of inquiry, and two special representatives of the secretary-general, covering over 50 human rights themes and 40 country situations.

On July 17, the Human Rights Council adopted by consensus a resolution that will contribute to an increased focus on the implementation of the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP). Norway led the resolution negotiations.

“Through this resolution, the Human Rights Council sends a clear message to states and companies that measures to remedy the economic effects of COIVD-19 must not take place at the expense of human rights. The measures must contribute to promoting responsible business in line with the United Nations Guiding Principles,” said Norwegian State Secretary Marianne Hagen.

The resolution calls on states to strengthen the implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles through the development of legislation and through their own action plans, and to report on follow-up annually. The resolution also recognizes the need to promote gender equality in business and to strengthen women’s access to redress and compensation in cases where companies have contributed to violating their rights.

The resolution will give United Nations member states an opportunity to assess the principles and strengthen their implementation, through a separate debate in the Human Rights Council in connection with the 10th anniversary of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights next year.

“A well-functioning and responsible business community is crucial to achieve the sustainability goals and to ensure an effective response to the economic effects of COVID-19. It is important that companies carry out due diligence assessments and that they can show how they work to avoid harm to people, society, and the environment,” said Hagen.

Norway played a major role in the development of the U.N. Guiding Principles, which were unanimously adopted in 2011. The principles have in a short time developed into the prevailing international standard in this area. Norway is one of more than 20 countries that have prepared a national action plan.

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Marit Fosse

Marit Fosse trained as an economist from Norwegian school of Economics and Business Administration in Bergen (Norges Handelshøyskole NHH) and then earned a doctorate in social sciences. She is the author of several books. Nansen: Explorer and Humanitarian, co-authored with John Fox, was translated into Russian/Armenian/French. In addition, Fosse is the editor of International Diplomat/Diva International in Geneva, a magazine set up 20 years ago for diplomats and persons working in the international organizations in Geneva but also elsewhere. In her free time, Fosse is an accomplished painter.