This Scorecard is due to be updated in 2018
The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights “apply to all States and to all business enterprises, both transnational and others, regardless of their size, sector, location, ownership and structure.” These principles establish that all businesses have an explicit role in the realisation of human rights through a responsibility to respect them and to takes steps to avoid infringing the rights of others and to address any adverse human impact as a result of their corporate activity. It is referred to as the ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ framework.
Foreign investment and business can play a key role in helping developing countries to reduce poverty and build their economy. But business can also have the opposite effect of perpetuating political repression by helping to sustain and fund governments that oppress their own people. This is particularly a concern with military regimes but there are many other despotic or coercive governments which have a questionable record on human rights. It may be difficult to identify the precise characteristics of such a regime but indicators might include: a permanent ‘state of emergency’; a lack of an independent judiciary; restricted press or restricted freedom of expression; random violence towards citizens or sections of the population and the use of military, paramilitary and/or police power to dominate civilians, physically and mentally.
A company that undertakes any business with a military or other coercive regime runs the risk of contributing directly or indirectly to human rights violations. Even when business activities and operations do not, in themselves, play a role in such abuses, a company may risk significant damage to its own reputation through association with such a regime.
This question gives businesses an opportunity to assess and explain their operations in any country where the government has a questionable human rights record.