CURTAIN RAISER: NHRC's National Conference on Business and Human Rights in Bengaluru on 12th January, 2018 (11.01.2018)

New Delhi, 11th January, 2018
The National Human Rights Commission, India is organising a National Conference on 'Business and Human Rights' in collaboration with Bharat Heavy Electricals Limited (BHEL) at BHEL, Bengaluru tomorrow on the 12th January, 2018. Mr. Justice H.L Dattu, Chairperson, NHRC will chair the Conference. The objective of the Conference is to discuss the national and international developments in the area of Business and Human Rights besides sharing experiences/views of the stakeholders.

The Conference is divided into three sessions namely, (I) Setting the Scene: State Duty to Protect Human Rights and Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights with a focus on Access to Remedy- Recent Global Developments, (II) Exploring Solutions in Business and Human Rights and (III) Develop National Action Plan (NAP) and Self Assessment Tool relating to Business and Human Rights for the use of business and industry for compliance on voluntary basis. Heads of major companies/business organizations/federations, banking institutions, regulatory bodies, public sector undertakings, media houses, Centre and State Government officials of the southern states, academics and NGOs working in the area of business and human rights, senior officers of the NHRC will attend and participate in the Conference.

The NHRC, India has an important role to play in the area of business and human rights as it has been nominated by the Commonwealth Forum of National Human Rights Institutions (CFNHRI) to be the focal point for the subject of 'Business and Human Rights'. Keeping this in view, the Commission organized a meeting with Industry Federations/Organizations to discuss and prepare a roadmap of engagements with industry associations. This was followed by a series of meetings with Industry Federations/Organizations to encourage voluntary compliance of human rights Principles by the Business. It finally culminated with the development of a draft Self Assessment Tool to be used by industry on voluntary basis. The Commission, thereafter, organized three Regional Conferences on Business and Human Rights at Chennai, Mumbai and Kolkata in 2017.

Recognizing the importance of human rights in businesses, Professor John Ruggie, Former UN Special Representative to Secretary General for Business and Human Rights, developed a 'Protect, Respect and Remedy framework along with Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights'. These Guiding principles were endorsed by Human Rights Council in June, 2011.