How to use the Country Guide

Application of Country Guide information by companies, governments, civil society organisation and National Human Rights Institutions.
How the Human Rights and Business Country Guide can be used by companies

For companies, the Country Guide is a tool to understand and address human rights risks and opportunities in the countries where they do business. Companies can use the Country Guide to:

  • Develop  policies and procedures related to human rights issues in the local environment.
  • Assess and track the potential human rights impacts in their own operations or in suppliers, business partners or investments.
  • Raise awareness among staff, suppliers and other business partners.
  • Engage with workers, communities, consumers and other stakeholders whose human rights might be affected by their operations.
  • Work with civil society organisations, government bodies or international organisations to identify areas of mutual concern.
  • Provide background information for auditors.
  • Contribute to development initiatives that align with human development needs and priorities in the local context.
 How the Human Rights and Business Country Guide can be used by governments

Governments have a duty to protect against adverse human rights impacts by business. State actors can use the information in the Country Guide to inform policy development, legislation, administrative and judicial reform and other actions that protect and promote human rights in the context of business. For example:

  • Review and reform public policy and legislation relevant to the human rights impacts of business, including in the areas of labour, environment, land, equal treatment, anti-corruption, taxation, consumer protection or corporate reporting.
  • Ensure respect for human rights in the state’s own business affairs. This includes areas such as state-owned companies, sovereign wealth funds and other investments, public procurement, development assistance and export credit.
  • Build awareness and capacity on human rights and business issues in public administration
  • Provide targeted advice to domestic companies.
  • Inform the development of trade policy, multilateral agreements and trade and investment promotion.
  • Improve effective access to judicial and non-judicial remedies for victims of business-related human rights abuses.
  • Enhance the contribution of the private sector in national and regional development programmes relevant to human rights.
How the Human Rights and Business Country Guide can be used by civil society organisations

Civil society organisations, including workers associations, are key representatives of communities whose human rights may be affected by business operations.  Civil society organisations can use the information in the  Country Guide to inform their research, advocacy and capacity building efforts. Country Guide information can help these groups:

  • Conduct human rights research and monitoring related to business operations
  • Work with affected workers and communities to define human rights and development priorities related to the role of business
  • Provide capacity-building to government, business and civil society stakeholders on human rights and business
  • Work with local stakeholders to provide recommendations to business and government
  • Facilitate  dialogue and engagement , including  multi-stakeholder forums, with state agencies and businesses
How the Human Rights and Business Country Guide can be used by National Human Rights Institutions

National Human Rights Institutions (NHRIs) are independent state institutions mandated to protect and promote human rights. NHRIs are recognised in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights as having a key role to play in protecting and promoting  human rights in relation to businesses. NHRIs can use the information in the Human Rights and Business Country Guide to fulfil their mandates in relation to human rights and business. This may include:

  • Monitoring the state implementation and enforcement of human rights principles and standards in national legal and administrative frameworks
  • Conducting investigations into alleged human rights abuses involving business activities
  • Providing or facilitating access to judicial or non-judicial remedies for victims of such abuses
  • Undertaking research, information and education activities on human rights and business issues
  • Collaborating with other NHRIs to address trans-national human rights issues  related to the private sector, including engaging with home and host governments and companies
  • Including human rights and business in engagements with the international human rights system, such as the Universal Periodic Review, Treaty Bodies and Special Procedures