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Committee on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights, General comment No. 24 (2017) on State obligations under the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights in the context of business activities

‘4. In certain jurisdictions, individuals enjoy direct recourse against business entities for violations of economic, social and cultural rights, whether in order to impose on such private entities (negative) duties to refrain from certain courses of conduct or to impose (positive) duties to adopt certain measures or to contribute to the fulfilment of such rights.16 There are also a large number of domestic laws designed to protect specific economic, social and cultural rights, that apply directly to business entities, such as in the areas of non-discrimination, health-care provision, education, the environment, employment relations and consumer safety.
5. In addition, under international standards, business entities are expected to respect Covenant rights regardless of whether domestic laws exist or are fully enforced in practice.17 The present general comment therefore also seeks to assist the corporate sector in discharging their human rights obligations and assuming their responsibilities, thus mitigating any reputational risks that may be associated with violations of Covenant rights within their sphere of influence.‘