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Human Rights Responsibilities in Oil and Gas Operations

Applying the UN Guiding Principles

Project Director: Robert McCorquodale

Research Fellows: Jonathan Bonnitcha and Lara Blecher

In June 2011, the Institute, through the Bingham Centre for the Rule of Law, and the law firm Clifford Chance were awarded a grant by the Association of International Petroleum Negotiators (AIPN) to conduct a joint research project on the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in the oil and gas sector. The paper was submitted to AIPN in September 2012 and was sent to AIPN members in October 2012. The agreed output of this project was an article to be submitted for publication in the Journal of World Energy Law and Business; the article has now been published in this Journal and can be found here.

The project entailed two phases of research. The first phase involved clarifying the scope of the Guiding Principles (often known as the 'Ruggie Principles', after the UN Special Representative) and their relevance to oil and gas companies. The second phase involved surveying and interviewing oil and gas company executives about their existing approaches to managing their human rights impacts. Through these two phases of research, the paper developed recommendations about further steps that oil and gas companies should take in order to be best placed to discharge their responsibility to respect human rights consistently with the Guiding Principles.

In parallel to this research project, the Institute, the Raoul Wallenberg Institute and the International Bar Association, organised a conference on the subject of implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The conference was supported by Clifford Chance and the Söderberg Foundations, and held over one and a half days on 15-16 September 2011, at the offices of Clifford Chance. The quality of the speakers and of the engagement with the issues by the audience was excellent. Click here for a copy of the Ruggie Conference Summary.