Human Rights Guidance Tool for the Financial Sector

General Information on Human Rights

International human rights instruments

Universal Declaration of Human Rights, 1948 (available in 439 languages):

International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, 1966:

International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights, 1966:

There are nine core international human rights instruments . Each is supported by a committee of experts to monitor implementation of the provisions by State parties. Some of the instruments are supplemented by optional protocols dealing with specific concerns. They can all be accessed at:

By October 2014, the International Labour Organisation (ILO) had adopted nearly 400 conventions, protocols and recommendations covering a broad range of subjects related to labour standards. These can be found at:

The Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has the UN mandate to promote and protect human rights. The OHCHR works to ensure the enforcement of universally recognised human rights norms and promotes the implementation of the major human rights treaties and respect for the rule of law:

Human rights and business

The United Nations Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR) has a mandate to lead the business and human rights agenda within the United Nations system. For information on the related processes, tools, and news by country and human rights issue:

The Business and Human Rights Resource Centre tracks the positive and negative human rights impacts of thousands of businesses worldwide. The site is updated on a daily basis:

All documents relating to the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights can be found at:

The United Nations Global Compact is the world's largest voluntary corporate responsibility initiative. It offers a coherent framework for businesses that are committed to aligning their operations and strategies with ten universally accepted principles in the areas of human rights, labour, the environment and anti-corruption :

The United Nations Global Compact hosts an online forum designed to stimulate discussion about the dilemmas that multinational companies may face in their efforts to respect and support human rights when operating in emerging economies:

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) has published Guidelines which are recommendations addressed by governments to multinational enterprises operating in or from adhering countries:

The Institute for Human Rights and Business is a global centre of excellence and expertise on the relationship between business and internationally proclaimed human rights standards:

Danish Institute for Human Rights has developed a guide for integrating human rights into environmental, social and health impact assessments:

The Children's Rights and Business Principles are a set of principles developed by UNICEF, the United Nations Global Compact and Save the Children. Their purpose is to guide companies on actions they can take in the workplace, marketplace and community to respect and support children's rights:

Global Reporting Initiative has a range of tools to help companies with reporting on sustainability, including human rights issues:

The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights were developed to guide companies in balancing the need for safety and security while respecting human rights:

Shift, a non-profit centre for business and human rights, develops and shares public guidance materials to help governments, businesses and their stakeholders put the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into practice:

Human rights and the finance sector

Some examples of human rights policies of banks and financial institutions:

The Equator Principles is a credit risk management framework for determining, assessing and managing environmental and social risk in projects :

The UN supported Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI) Initiative is an international network of investors working together to put the six Principles for Responsible Investment into practice:

The Wolfsberg Group is an association of eleven global banks, which aims to develop financial services industry standards, and related products, for Know Your Customer, Anti-Money Laundering and Counter Terrorist Financing policies:

The Thun Group of Banks is an informal group of bank representatives that have been discussing the meaning of the Protect, Respect, Remedy Framework and Guiding Principles in relation to the activities of banks. It has produced a discussion paper on key aspects of the Guiding Principles:

Global Reporting Initiative's Financial Services Sector Supplement provides the sector with a tailored version of GRI's Sustainability Reporting Guidelines:

The Institute for Human Rights and Business in association with Calvert Investments and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility has produced a guide that shows investors how to effectively integrate human rights into investment decision-making and corporate engagement:

The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD) is engaging in a multi-stakeholder process to develop a guidance that will clarify the potential approaches for application of due diligence for responsible business conduct in the financial sector, in the context of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises.

The CRO Forum Emerging Risks Initiative (ERI) was launched in 2005 to raise awareness of major emerging risks relevant to society and the (re)insurance industry. The ERI series on managing environmental, social and governance challenges in business transactions dedicates one paper to human rights.


December 2014     United Nations Environment Programme Finance Initiative