World

The practical application of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to the activities of technology companies: Report of the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (A/HRC/50/56) [EN/AR/RU/ZH]

Attachments

Human Rights Council
Fiftieth session
13 June–8 July 2022
Agenda items 2 and 3
Annual report of the United Nations High Commissioner
for Human Rights and reports of the Office of the
High Commissioner and the Secretary-General
Promotion and protection of all human rights, civil,
political, economic, social and cultural rights,
including the right to development

Summary

The present report is submitted pursuant to resolution 47/23 of the Human Rights Council, in which the Council requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to prepare a report on the practical application of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to the activities of technology companies, and to present it to the Council at its fiftieth session. The report has been informed by deliberations from a two-day expert consultation, also mandated by resolution 47/23, as well as by submissions received from States and other stakeholders, and other relevant processes and initiatives, in particular the OHCHR B-Tech Project.

The report is complemented by an addendum, which provides details of the expert consultation held on 7 and 8 March 2022.

I. Introduction

1. In its resolution 47/23 on new and emerging digital technologies and human rights, the Human Rights Council reaffirmed the importance of a holistic, inclusive and comprehensive approach and the need for all stakeholders to collaborate in a more concerted way in addressing the possible impacts, opportunities and challenges of new and emerging digital technologies with regard to the promotion and protection of human rights. It requested the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) to convene an expert consultation to discuss the practical application of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights to the activities of technology companies and to submit a report to the Council at its fiftieth session. The Council further requested OHCHR to seek input from and to take into account the relevant work already done by stakeholders from diverse geographic regions.

2. In accordance with the latter request, a call for submissions was sent out on 22 December 2021 to all States and other stakeholders mentioned in resolution 47/23, and 37 submissions were received.

3. Furthermore, pursuant to the same resolution, OHCHR convened a two-day expert consultation on 7 and 8 March 2022. The consultation explored the normative content, as well as the practical experiences, opportunities and challenges faced, in applying the Guiding Principles to the technology sector. A detailed account of the deliberations from the consultation is included in an addendum to the present report.

4. The aim of the present report is to demonstrate the value and practical application of the Guiding Principles in preventing and addressing adverse impacts on human rights related to technology companies. The report draws on, and is informed by, the OHCHR B-Tech Project, deliberations during the consultation and stakeholder submissions.