HRRC Collaboration with SHIFT and MAZARS to Develop Global Human Rights Auditing Standards

Jakarta, 1 Dec. 2012 – The Human Rights Resource Centre for ASEAN (HRRC) is pleased to announce its direct involvement in the previously announced Mazars / Shift collaboration to develop global human rights auditing standards for companies, in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

In agreeing to become the primary resource and outreach partner to the Project, HRRC believes that it has an important role to play in a project where each partner brings a specific line of expertise.

Mazars is an internationally renowned organisation specialising in audit, advisory, accounting, tax and legal services.  As such, it brings many years of understanding of the corporate culture in over 60 countries worldwide, which enables it to view matters from a global business perspective whilst appreciating regional variations.

Shift meanwhile is an independent, non-profit centre for business and human rights striving to embed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights into corporate practice.  Its strength primarily lies in the ability to frame such complex matters in a clear and logical manner in line with the Guiding Principles.

Both have already made major contributions to the field: Shift as the virtual author of the Guiding Principles, which were written by its chair, Professor John Ruggie, former Special Representative of the UN Secretary-General; and Mazars for its human rights audit practice, which won the 2012 Innovation of the Year Award from the International Accounting Bulletin.

With its strong links at all levels throughout the ASEAN region, HRRC will be able to ensure that in developing the standards full attention is paid to ensuring that they do indeed meet the needs and aspirations of all ASEAN peoples.  This can only be achieved by addressing the three pillars that support the UN Guiding Principles: Protect, Respect and Remedy.

  • 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, meaning to act with due diligence to avoid infringing on the rights of others and address adverse impacts with which they are involved; and
  • The need for greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial.

In this regard we are pleased to see that not only have both Mazars and Shift already committed to engaging in extensive multi-stakeholder consultations throughout the region and elsewhere, but also to  the provision of training for companies and other stakeholder groups, plus support for the development of effective grievance handling in the field of business and human rights.

It is thus our belief that working in concert with Mazars and Shift, we will be able to make a major contribution to the advancement of human rights not just in ASEAN but around the world, in bringing to fruition the project to develop a twin set of standards for auditing companies in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights:

  1. A global and widely accepted standard for business to report on their implementation of appropriate risk management procedures, in line with the Guiding Principles; and
  2. A global and widely accepted assurance standard to assess companies’ performance with regard to human rights risk management, designed around existing auditing standards (and with input from those who apply them) and building on the valuable experience gained by Mazars in developing its own award-winning human rights audit process.

These standards will encompass all of the elements required of companies in order to meet their responsibilities to respect  human rights in accordance with the UN Guiding Principles, and as previously mentioned, will involve input from diverse parties.

Moving forward, therefore, we welcome interaction with all interested parties, which is one of the reasons that we will be dedicating a portion of the HRRC website to the project over the coming weeks.

For further information in the meantime, please contact:

Anna Triponel (SHIFT):

Bahtiar Manurung (MAZARS):