The protection of human rights

On the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, the top management of many companies subscribing to the UN Global Compact, including eni, reiterated their commitment to respecting and protecting human rights, recognizing this as an essential precondition for international operations1. The CEO Statement helped to strengthen the awareness that respect for human rights is not a sole responsibility of the public sector, but that the private sector can also play an important role. Also as a result of this initiative in 2011 the UN Council for Human Rights approved the “Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations ‘Protect, Respect and Remedy’ Framework”, which confirms that companies are the holders of precise obligations in terms of human rights. The European Commission has also included these principles in its own strategy and supports their implementation with the development of national action plans2. In 2013, it published practical guides for the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights aimed at companies operating in the three sectors considered most at risk: Oil&Gas, ICT and Employment Agencies.

At the second annual forum of the United Nations on Human Rights and Companies – held in Geneva in December 2013 – there were around 1500 representatives from civil society, international organizations, NGOs and companies from more than 100 Countries, all with the goal of monitoring the implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and discussing solutions to common problems.

This is a sign of the interest and involvement of the players involved in the debate on the future Sustainable Development Goals, who identified Human Rights not only as a cross-cutting precondition for the achievement of inclusive growth, but also as a target in itself, to be reflected in the specific targets currently being defined.

(1) UN Global Compact.
(2) Oil and Gas Sector Guide on Implementing the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, European Commission.

The protection of human rights (graphic)