Title: An application of the ‘foundational principles’ of the second pillar of the United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights to the ranger mine, in the Northern Territory of Australia

Authors: Jeremy Pearce

Addresses: Leicester Castle Business School, DeMontfort University, Leicester, LE1 9BH, UK

Abstract: This paper reviews the ‘foundational principles’ of the second pillar (the corporate responsibility to respect) of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and applies them to the Ranger mine in the Northern Territory of Australia. It is argued that whilst there is some progress being made and clear acknowledgement and recognition by Rio Tinto that supports the UNGPs, this acknowledgement is yet to translate into meaningful changes on the ground at the Ranger mine. As a result this raises two issues for the UNGPs. Firstly, the efficacy of the UNGPs, as a stand-alone instrument, to deliver increased rights protections for those that need them most. Secondly, commercial realities as opposed to a disregard for human rights, may in some cases explain why companies have not implemented the UNGPs.

Keywords: human rights; UNGPs; United Nations guiding principles on business and human rights; Mirrar people; Rio Tinto; responsible governance.

DOI: 10.1504/IJISD.2020.104243

International Journal of Innovation and Sustainable Development, 2020 Vol.14 No.1, pp.86 - 101

Received: 12 Feb 2018
Accepted: 25 Feb 2018

Published online: 20 Dec 2019 *

Full-text access for editors Access for subscribers Purchase this article Comment on this article