Business & Human Rights Committee

In response to the growing debate on the role of businesses in respecting human rights, the New York City Bar Association, at the direction of President Roger Maldonado and in coordination with the Cyrus R. Vance Center for International Justice, has formed a Working Group on Business and Human Rights to define policies and programs in this increasingly important area.

The Working Group will recommend whether the City Bar (1) should endorse the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs); and (2) if the City Bar does endorse the UNGPs, develop and implement a strategy to educate and engage the legal community and the broader public with regard to business and human rights.

In June 2020, the New York City Bar adopted a pioneer policy statement on Business and Human Rights proposed by the Working Group in collaboration with the Bar’s standing committees.

The Working Group is composed of a range of interested professionals, including private practitioners, academics, in-house counsels, and representatives from several City Bar standing committees, including Foreign & Comparative Law, United Nations, Council on International Affairs, International Law, Corporation Law, Foreign and Comparative Law, International Human Rights, International Environmental Law, and In-House Counsel.

An Advisory Committee composed of experts in the field of Business and Human Rights across several industries and countries provides strategic guidance to the Working Group.



Marie-Claude Jean-Baptiste, Vance Center Programs Director. 


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What is Business and Human Rights?

In recent years, civil society organizations, international agencies, and corporations themselves have given greater attention to the legal responsibility of businesses to respect human rights and remedy human rights violations arising from their operations.  This has given rise to the new field of human rights practice: Business and Human Rights or BHR. The United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). For many, the UNGPs have become the gold standard for BHR practice, receiving recognition from governments, civil society, and corporations worldwide. Furthermore, a growing number of countries have incorporated BHR principles into national legislation.