Help Mark the 60th Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights (UDHR)
(1 December 2007) Letter co-signed by UN High Commissioner for Human Rights Louise Arbour
and by Georg Kell, Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Office, inviting all UN Global
Compact participants to help mark the 60th anniversary of the UDHR.
(28 April 2008) Follow-up letter from the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights and the
Executive Director of the UN Global Compact Office outlining practical ways in which companies
and Global Compact Local Networks can respect and promote human rights. The letter also includes
information on relevant business and human rights tools and guidance materials.
This letter outlines three opportunities of helping to advance business and
human rights, inspired by the upcoming 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human
Rights, which is the basis for the first two Global Compact principles. In particular, the letter
calls participants' attention to the opportunity of adding their CEO's name to the CEO
here for more
information on the CEO Statement.
Ideas for Action
Familiarize Yourself with the Global Compact’s Human Rights Principles
CEO and Board-level Commitments
Practices and implementation
Conduct a human rights risk and impact assessment.
Ensure that your company's practices are aligned with (and do not undermine) existing human
Engage in dialogue with your stakeholders (including critics) about your company's human
Awareness-Raising and Training for Employees, Subsidiaries, Suppliers and Other Business
Raise awareness of the UDHR and its anniversary among employees, subsidiaries, business
partners and other stakeholders through company communications channels. (The UDHR is available in
335 languages at
Promote your company's position on human rights with your subsidiaries, suppliers and other
business partners (as a term of business) and encourage their participation in the Global
Encourage your subsidiaries, suppliers and business partners to ask their suppliers and
business partners to make explicit human rights commitments.
Explore ways of enhancing the transparency of human rights and labour practices in your
Case Studies, Learning and Good Practices
Consider participating in the trial use of a business and human rights tool and
sharing the experience with your Global Compact Local Network.
Click here to download a short
description of how some major business and human rights tools can be used and where to find
(An optional one-page human rights management framework that businesses might
find helpful in integrating human rights in business management is available in six
Companies willing to share good human rights practices with others are
encouraged to become the subject of a business case study for the Global Compact publication
Embedding Human Rights in Business Practice III. (Download the
Business Case Studies: Research
Please include your human rights activities in your next Communication on Progress. In
addition, you may wish to publicize your human rights activities and initiatives (including those
taken in connection with the UDHR anniversary) by notifying the Business & Human Rights
Resource Centre (firstname.lastname@example.org)
Resource Centre will be drawing attention to such initiatives on its
Participate in Global Compact Local Networks
Global Compact Local Networks are encouraged to make reference the UDHR’s 60th anniversary on
their websites and include human rights issues in their network agenda for 2008. Networks that
are already undertaking activities on business and human rights this year include Brazil, Colombia,
Germany, Indonesia, Korea, Morocco, Mozambique, Namibia, Nepal, the Nordic Countries, South Africa,
Ukraine, United Kingdom, United States, and Zambia.
Engage in Other Networks
Engage with National Human Rights Institutions
Consider engaging with national human rights institutions. National human rights institutions
are independent bodies established by states and combine the advantages of an official entity with
the creativity and energy of non-governmental organizations. For more information about national
human rights institutions, go to
The UN Global Compact focuses on the business case for supporting and respecting human rights
and avoiding complicity in human rights abuse. However, your company may wish to consider
supporting local or international development projects related to human rights issues, or
addressing issues such as water preservation and access, children's education, public health and
health education, gender equality and women's rights. Many companies have partnered with the
UN or non-governmental organizations on projects which are linked to their core business.
Encourage your industry association to highlight human rights in its agenda in
Consider opportunities of engaging in collective action to promote human rights in your
industry sector or in your region.
Encourage employees and others to make their own individual commitment to the Universal
Every Human Has Rights
global campaign by
, who have expressed their hope
that "2008 can be the year that individuals, not just governments, sign the
declaration". Some companies are helping to promote this campaign through their intranet
and website. (one billion signatures are sought).
Activities by Global Compact Participants
[AXA Group] AXA has developed a strategy for effective communication with its
employees on AXA's effort to respect human rights. The strategy includes a series of articles on
various human rights issues in their staff intranet system. The communication plan is
[Bovespa] On 13 March 2008, Bovespa's Chairman Raymundo Magliano has contributed
an article to
Folha de S. Paulo, a leading newspaper in Brazil, to raise awareness of the Universal
Declaration of Human Rights and promote Human Rights in Brazil. Available in
[International Chamber of Commerce] Coinciding with its support for the 60th
Anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, ICC has issued a
policy statement developed by the ICC
Commission on Business in Society. The statement describes the role and responsibilities of
business in relation to human rights, and highlights the steps companies have taken to act as good
corporate citizens and respect human rights in the context of their business activities.
[Novo Nordisk] Novo Nordisk has posted a film on the Elders campaign on its
sustainability website and prepared a publication on its work on the right to health. The news has
been sent to all Novo Nordisk employees around the globe. The film and publication are available at
[Vivendi] On 10 December 2008,
Vivendi launched an awareness campaign for the company's 43,000 employees on the
10 Principles of the UN Global Compact. The campaign message is available in
for activities planned for this year by the UN Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights.
Information kits and posters are also available for download.
Please send your ideas for how business can commemorate the 60th anniversary of the
(Last update: 8 April 2009)