The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) obliges business to respect human rights. It provides the first global standard for preventing and addressing human rights harms from business activities.
Based on this obligation, ECOP Director-General Jose Roland Moya observed that companies are now taking pro-active steps to ensure that they have policies and programs in place in support of such obligation.
Moya, who was a resource person in a forum on business and human rights of Philip Morris Fortune Tobacco Corporation Inc. (PMFTC), defined the corporate responsibility to respect human rights as “not infringing on the rights of others, not being complicit in the commission and perpetration of human rights abuses, and addressing adverse impacts that may occur.”
The corporate responsibility to respect human rights is based on UNGP’s framework of “Protect, Respect, Remedy.”
“The human rights that businesses have to respect include working conditions, fair wages, social security, freedom of association, collective bargaining, non-discrimination, forced labor, and child labor,” Moya said.
“These rights are covered by labor standards as defined by our labor laws and regulations and the core conventions of the International Labour Organization which have all been ratified by the Philippine government,” Moya added.
PMFTC organized the forum part of its continuing global initiative to assess the implementation of its policies and programs consistent with the corporate responsibility to respect human rights.
The company’s commitment to human rights are contained in its “Our Commitment to Human Rights” and the “Agricultural Labour Practices Code (Principles and Measurable Standards)” among other documents which make reference to the ILO’s 1998 Declaration on Fundamental Principles and Rights at Work and ILO conventions.