Respect for Human Rights
Basic Stance on Human Rights
Mitsubishi Corporation (MC) believes that respect for human rights is an important component of promoting sustainability in its global business. Mitsubishi Corporation's Code of Conduct stipulates clearly that the company will "respect human rights; will not engage in discrimination on the basis of race, ethnicity, creed, religion, or any other grounds; will not tolerate harassment; will foster a proper understanding and awareness of the issue of human rights; will respect the cultures, customs, and language of other countries and regions; and will promote and maintain harmony with the international and local communities in which it operates." MC also supports all international norms and codes regarding human rights, including the Universal Declaration of Human Rights*1, UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights*2, the core labor standards of the International Labour Organization (ILO)*3 and the Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights*4.
*1The declaration was adopted as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations" to secure respect for the rights and freedoms of individuals. It was adopted in 1948 at the Third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The UN later adopted two international covenants on human rights that effectively made many of the provisions of the Universal Declaration binding for states that ratified them: The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights. MC endorses these international covenants and makes specific reference to compliance with them in the Mitsubishi Corporation Code of Conduct.
*2The UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights was endorsed by the United Nations Human Rights Council in 2011 and outlines how States and businesses should implement the UN “Protect, Respect and Remedy" Framework (proposed in 2008) in order to better manage business and human rights challenges including due diligence. Professor John Ruggie of Harvard University, who was appointed Secretary-General‘s Special Representative for Business and Human Rights is credited with formulating the framework.
*3The International Labour Organization (ILO) has identified eight ILO Conventions pertaining to issues ranging from discrimination and minimum working age to the worst forms of child labor. MC endorses all eight Fundamental ILO Conventions and makes specific reference to compliance with them in the Mitsubishi Corporation Code of Conduct.
*4The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights were formulated through multipartite discussions whose aim was to guide companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations while ensuring respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms and is based on the UN Basic Principles on the Use of Force and Firearms by Law Enforcement Officials and Code of Conduct for Law Enforcement Officials. Engaging in the discussions were the governments of the United States and the United Kingdom, private-sector companies in the resources and energy sectors, and non-governmental organizations with an interest in human rights and corporate social responsibility.
Universal Declaration of Human Rights
MC embraces and supports the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which was adopted on December 10, 1948 at the Third Session of the General Assembly of the United Nations. The declaration was adopted as a "common standard of achievement for all peoples and all nations" to secure respect for the rights and freedoms of individuals.
The UN later adopted two international covenants on human rights that effectively made many of the provisions of the Universal Declaration binding for States that ratified them. The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights and the International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights were adopted in 1966 by the 21st UN General Assembly. The International Covenants entered into force in 1976 and were ratified by Japan in 1979. MC endorses these International Covenants and makes specific reference to compliance with them in the Mitsubishi Corporation Corporate Code of Conduct.
These Guiding Principles are grounded in recognition of:
- (a)States‘ existing obligations to respect, protect and fulfil human rights and fundamental freedoms;
- (b)The role of business enterprises as specialized organs of society performing specialized functions, required to comply with all applicable laws and to respect human rights;
- (c)The need for rights and obligations to be matched to appropriate and effective remedies when breached.
ILO International Labour Standards
The International Labour Organization (ILO) was founded in 1919 on the basic principle that universal and lasting peace can be established only if it is based on social justice. Since its establishment, one of the most important functions of the ILO has been the formulation of international labor standards through Conventions and Recommendations. The ILO has a tripartite structure with workers and employers participating as equal partners with governments. Conventions and Recommendations are adopted at the International Labour Conference of the ILO and ratifying States commit to observing them. The ratifying States also use Recommendations to guide their national policies, law-making and actions. Since its founding, the ILO has adopted Conventions and Recommendations that cover nearly every issue affecting the working world. The ILO has identified eight ILO Conventions, which it calls the Fundamental ILO Conventions, pertaining to issues ranging from discrimination and minimum working age to the worst forms of child labor. MC endorses all eight Fundamental ILO Conventions and makes specific reference to compliance with them in the Mitsubishi Corporation Code of Conduct.
Policy on Children's Rights
MC understands that children are especially vulnerable to human rights abuses and that special consideration of their rights is necessary. MC also believes that respecting the rights of children allows them to better understand their own rights, which in turn contributes to their ability to become active members of society and leaders of future generations.
With this understanding, MC supports the United Nations and ILO treaties* regarding children's rights and will strive to ensure that these rights are respected throughout our business. In particular, MC supports the Convention on the Rights of the Child, including children's survival and development rights, protection rights and participation rights. MC also supports the Children's Rights and Business Principles, strives to prevent abuses of children's rights in our business and invests in social contributions through philanthropic efforts focused on children's rights.
*The UN Global Compact, the Convention on the Rights of the Child, the Children's Rights and Business Principles, the Convention concerning the Prohibition and Immediate Action for the Elimination of the Worst Forms of Child Labour (ILO Convention No. 182), etc.
Policy on Indigenous Peoples' Rights
In the context of its overall commitment to protecting human rights, MC pays special attention to upholding the rights of indigenous peoples, acknowledging their unique social and legal status under national and international laws, conventions and declarations, such as the ILO Convention 169 and the United Nations Declaration on the Rights of Indigenous Peoples, as well as their unique histories and cultural contributions throughout the world.
When examining new business investment proposals, MC takes into consideration how the business operations may impact the rights of indigenous peoples and will consult with the affected communities to ensure that such investment is made having regard to relevant international standards, such as the International Finance Corporation Performance Standard on Indigenous Peoples , and with full respect for the dignity, human rights, aspirations, cultures and natural resource-based livelihoods of the affected indigenous peoples.
Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights
The Voluntary Principles on Security and Human Rights were formulated through multipartite discussions whose aim was to guide companies in maintaining the safety and security of their operations while ensuring a respect for human rights and fundamental freedoms. Engaging in the discussions were the governments of the United States, the United Kingdom, private sector companies in the resources and energy sectors, and non-governmental organizations with an interest in human rights and corporate social responsibility. The Voluntary Principles state the following: "Acknowledging that security is a fundamental need, shared by individuals, communities, businesses, and governments alike, we recognize that security and respect for human rights can and should be consistent"; "As those responsible for protecting company assets from theft and violence, company security personnel must recognize the potential risk of the violation of human rights through the misuse of firearms"; "Companies recognize a commitment to act in a manner consistent with the laws of the countries within which they are present, to be mindful of the highest applicable international standards, and to promote the observance of applicable international law enforcement principles, particularly with regard to the use of force"; and "Taking note of the effect that Companies' activities may have on local communities, we recognize the value of engaging with civil society and host and home governments to contribute to the welfare of the local community." MC also endorses the Voluntary Principles outlined above.