>>POSNER: Thank you all for being here. This morning the High Commissioner for Human Rights and John Ruggie opened the first human rights and business summit of the UN. This follows on the work of John Ruggie over the last half dozen years, and now a working
group on Business and Human Rights. There were 700 or 800 people there. It really is a turning point I think in this
discussion. It’s 64 years since the
Universal Declaration of Human Rights was adopted this week, and when the framers, Eleanor Roosevelt and others,
created the Universal Declaration it was very much a world where everybody was
focused on states. Sixty-four years later the world looks very
different. One of the differences is the enormous growth
of private companies, multinational companies
and others, and the need to create rules of the road for
how governments, companies and civil society interact with
respect to issues of human rights. What John Ruggie has done
as the Special Representative of the Secretary General
was to create a broad framework or common platform
for the discussion that talked about a
government’s duty to protect human rights, a company’s
responsibility to respect, and the need for victims to have a remedy. That’s really the starting point for a discussion. It provides a framework and a justification
for action. What we’re doing here today is
to really put meat on the bones and for companies, f
or governments, for civil society to think about the next steps.
How do we make this real? How do we affect real people’s lives?
These are issues of the day. They’re issues that are going to
be enormously important in the 21st Century.
It was very encouraging to see such an outpouring of interest both
among governments but also many, many companies here as well as
members of civil society. So now we move on.