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Children's Rights and Business

Business impact and responsibility towards human rights has long been a concern for NGOs, and since the development of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) considered an important factor in reaching rights compliance and development. Save the Children has been engaged in the issues for quite some time, an engagement that was formalized in 2012 with the publishing of the Children's Rights and Business Principles (CRBP).

The UNGP stands on the “Protect, Respect, Remedy”-framework that sets forth three fundamental principles when it comes to the fulfilment of rights;

- The state duty to protect against human rights abuses by third parties, including business, through appropriate policies, regulation, and adjudication;

- The corporate responsibility to respect human rights, which means to act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others and to address adverse impacts that occur; and

- Greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial

The UNGPs are not singling out any rights or groups, but lays the ground for all rights of all individuals, and stating that extra concern should be given to those that run a higher risk of not enjoying ther rights.

Save the Children has developed several tools and guidelines offering the possibility to advocate for and reach change in terms of business impact on children’s rights. This goes through capacity building within civil society and children themselves, creating awareness on CR&B-related violations towards children’s rights, advocating change in policy towards the state and their duty of protect children’s rights, and influence business in changing their behavior in relation to impact on children’s rights. Besides the UNGP, the General Comment no. 16 to the Convention on the Rights of the Child (on State obligations regarding the impact of the business sector on children's rights) and the CRBP offers more guidance on how change can be reached for children and their rights by addressing change in corporate behavior – on the one hand through state obligations and on the other through private sector acknowledging and understanding business responsibility.

Photo: Mark Kaye/Save the Children

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