We welcome the opportunity to respond to Jonathan Bonnitcha and Robert McCorquodale’s discussion of the 2011 United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (Guiding Principles). The UN Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles in June. They constitute the only official guidance the Council and its predecessor, the Commission on Human Rights, have issued for states and business enterprises on their respective obligations in relation to business and human rights. It also marked the first time that either body ‘endorsed’ a normative text on any subject that governments did not negotiate themselves. UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Zeid Ra’ad Al Hussein describes the Guiding Principles as ‘the global authoritative standard, providing a blueprint for the steps all states and businesses should take to uphold human rights’. The Guiding Principles have been widely drawn upon in standard setting by other international organizations, governments, businesses, law societies, including the International Bar Association and even the International Federation of Football Associations. Civil society groups and workers organizations use them as advocacy tools.


Ruggie, John Gerard, and John F. Sherman III. "The Concept of ‘Due Diligence’ in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: A Reply to Jonathan Bonnitcha and Robert McCorquodale." European Journal of International Law 28.3 (November 2017): 921-928.