Human rights are universal, mutually interdependent and indivisible. This means they are parts of a whole, that no right is more important than another, and that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights. There are different types of rights, including civil and political rights; economic, social and cultural rights; and special protection for individuals who belong to specific groups.
Human rights are part of international law. They are written down in various types of international agreements such as conventions. When states sign these conventions, they have an obligation to guarantee that the rights of every individual will be upheld. The Swedish Government therefore bears ultimate responsibility for protecting human rights in Sweden. Businesses too have a responsibility, namely respecting human rights. Corporate responsibility is clarified in the UN Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), which is a global standard. For a business, respecting human rights means to avoid having negative impacts on human rights and to address such impacts where they do occur. A negative impact occurs when an action reduces or removes the ability of an individual to enjoy his or hers human rights. According to the UN Guiding Principles, to fulfil their responsibility, businesses should have a policy commitment. They should also have a due diligence process where they identify and manage their human rights risks and follow up on and communicate their results. Businesses should also have a remediation process in place.
Companies and organisations in all sectors are subject to the UN Guiding Principles, including investors. AP2 strives to ensure that the UN Guiding Principles are implemented in its operations. Since the fund’s core business is asset management, AP2 also complies with the Principles for Responsible Investment (PRI). The governing document for the work at AP2 is the Fund’s policy for human rights.