Dancing along the Edge: Balancing the Responsibility to Protect vs. Respect Human Rights in Challenging Environments

March 26, 2021

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Human rights risks have become increasingly urgent priorities for businesses and investors over the past few years, and that urgency has been further fueled by the challenges of the COVID-19 pandemic, increased awareness of gender inequality and racial injustice around the world and growing concerns over human rights abuses in many countries.

The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), which turn 10 years old this year, clarify that governments have a duty to protect human rights, while businesses have a responsibility to respect human rights. But how does a business determine what is required to meet this standard, especially in cases where governments lack the ability or interest to protect the human rights of workers and host communities on whom businesses rely?

This joint analysis by Acorn International and Ropes & Gray addresses this important question.