Human Rights Translated Guide

This publication has now been superseded by Human Rights Translated 2.0: A Business Reference Guide. You can read it at our new custom made website

Sixty years after the Universal Declaration of Human Rights was agreed in Paris, the internationally recognised human rights that were agreed by governments in 1948 increasingly resonate with business. A new publication - Human Rights Translated: A Business Reference Guide - is being launched which translates legal human rights concepts into business language for use in a business context. The authors of the publication are the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, the International Business Leaders Forum, the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Global Compact Office.

The UN Human Rights Commissioner, Ms. Navanethem Pillay, says,

"We are delighted to have been involved in the development of this important publication. It provides companies with a comprehensive explanation of the entire range of human rights contained in the two key International Covenants, and offers useful illustrations of how these rights relate to business practices. I encourage companies to use this publication as a reference when seeking to improve their understanding of how international human rights standards apply in a business context."

UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights, Professor John Ruggie, speaking at the International Seminar on Business and Human Rights in Paris on Thursday, said:

“Corporations widely recognize that they have a responsibility to respect internationally recognized human rights. But no comprehensive tool has existed that describes what such rights mean in a business context. This publication does so, in language that is rights-based while also being easily accessible to business executives and managers. Companies are encouraged to use Human Rights Translated as a reference guide when undertaking their human rights due diligence to ensure that they discharge their responsibility to respect rights.”

Mary Robinson, President of Realizing Rights: The Ethical Globalization Initiative, Member of IBLF's International Advisory Board, Chair of the UN Global Compact Human Rights Working Group and Member of the UN Global Compact Board, says:

“The 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights is a key moment not only to recognize the leadership of companies that have already engaged on human rights issues but to remind businesses around the world of the challenges that still lie ahead. This publication will help companies meet that challenge.”

The International Business Leaders Forum, which has been working in the area of Business and Human Rights for over a decade, is delighted with initial reaction to the Reference Guide. The new CEO of IBLF, Adam Leach says:

“The importance of human rights to business has been well understood by leading companies within specific industries for some time. But for many in business the human rights terminology is off-putting. Human Rights Translated helps demystify human rights for company executives and practitioners across all industries and helps them to see how their existing practices fit within a human rights context. This book is part of IBLF’s work making human rights accessible and manageable for companies.  I urge companies to use the Guide in conjunction with other business and human rights management materials to reinforce their positive impact on human development.”

Professor Sarah Joseph, Director of the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law at Monash University in Melbourne says:

"The Castan Centre is pleased to have contributed its legal expertise to the production of this guide. In creating this publication, we aim to provide business with a 'plain language' guide to international human rights standards, and to illustrate how they are relevant in a business context.  We hope that this publication will contribute to a greater understanding of human rights issues by companies."

Georg Kell, of the UN Global Compact Office says:

“We are delighted to be associated with this reference guide, which will help clarify how human rights can become a business issue across sectors and countries. The UN Global Compact now has over 6000 business participants and other stakeholders in more than 130 countries. We anticipate that Human Rights Translated will be a useful reference for Global Compact participants and other businesses all over the world, especially in enhancing their knowledge of how to respect and support human rights and avoid complicity in human rights abuse (UN Global Compact principles 1 and 2).”

About the publication:

The purpose of this publication is to explain universally recognised human rights in a way that makes sense to business. The publication aims to illustrate, through the use of case studies and suggested practical actions, how human rights are relevant in a corporate context and how human rights issues can be managed.

The publication is being launched on December 5th, 2008 at the International Seminar on Business and Human Rights in Paris by its authors: the Castan Centre for Human Rights Law, International Business Leaders Forum, Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and UN Global Compact Office.

Download Human Rights Translated publication (PDF, 3.83 MB)

Download A Navigating Card to the Guide for Business publication (PDF, 0.06 MB)