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Amnesty International attacks draft Ruggie human rights standards

Date: 17 Jan 2011

A group of human rights NGOs, including Amnesty International, has said that it opposes the current draft standards for companies on human rights drawn up by John Ruggie, the United Nations Special Representative on the subject.

A key area of focus is the failure of the draft to require governments to put legal requirements on companies to respect human rights, rather than simply encouraging them to do so.

In a joint statement, the groups said that should their demands not be addressed, it could lead to the standards being rejected by civil society - which in their view would undermine their value.

Ruggie's framework has been welcomed by other sectors, governments have widely backed it and companies such as HP and Tesco are amongst those trialling it. It is likely to be part of revised OECD guidelines for multi-national corporations.

The NGOs have been ongoing critics of John Ruggie's work having always sought legislative measures to force companies into compliance. Ruggie believes that, once adopted, the framework would lead to increased business peer pressure to conform.

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