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Abstract

For decades, human rights advocates have called for greater corporate accountability in relation to the harmful impacts business operations can, and often do, have on individuals, communities, and societies throughout the world. As high profile cases of large multinational corporations complicit in human rights abuses have increasingly come to the fore, the need to clarify both the role of States to effectively regulate multinational corporations (MNCs) and the standards of corporate responsibility and accountability with regards to human rights has become stark.The work of the Special Representative of the U.N. Secretary-General on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprise, John Ruggie, aimed to address this gap. Over the course of his six-year mandate, Ruggie established the U.N. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (Guiding Principles), a three-pillared framework outlining the State duty to protect human rights, the corporate responsibility to respect human rights, and the need for access to remedy in relation to business related human rights harms.The Guiding Principles, comprised of thirty-one foundation and operational principles, lay out in authoritative detail,inter alia, theobligations and responsibilities of State and corporate actors in regards to business impacts on human rights. The U.N. Human Rights Council unanimously adopted the Guiding Principles in 2011 and thereafter called on countries in2014 to develop National Action Plans (NAPs) to promote further implementation of the Guiding Principles on a domestic scale.A key first step in the creation of a NAP is the completion of a National Baseline Assessment (NBA). The NBA is intended to assess, principle by principle, a State’s current implementation of the business and human rights framework, highlighting current legal and policy developments and illustrating gaps that the NAP’s content should address.

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