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Business and Human Rights in Occupied Territory: Guidance for Upholding Human Rights
27، Apr 2020

Following their unanimous adoption by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011, many States, multilateral institutions, and businesses have demonstrated their commitment to upholding the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the “Protect, Respect, and Remedy” framework laid out within them. While the practical implementation of the UNGPs has been extensively explored, including as related to conducting human rights due diligence in conflict-affected areas, situations of occupation in particular continue to be met with inconsistent approaches by both businesses and States. Such incoherence is exacerbated by the already challenging legal and administrative environment present in occupied territories, where businesses must not only consider international human rights law (IHRL) but also international humanitarian law (IHL), alongside other frameworks, when assessing their business activities and relationships. Central to this assessment is the manner in which an Occupying Power administers the occupied territory, where IHL regulates the Occupying Power’s use and exploitation of natural resources, including land, and prohibits measures aimed at the permanent retention of the occupied territory, including the transfer of populations, amongst other principles. Given the heightened risks of abuse in conflict–affected areas in general, alongside the prevalence of unlawfully administered and prolonged situations of occupation, businesses may be unable to mitigate adverse human rights impacts in a specific setting.