Every year thousands of complaints of alleged Human Rights violations are processed by the United Nations system for the promotion and protection of Human Rights. The system is mainly based on two types of mechanism:
- Mechanisms linked to bodies created under the United Nations Human Rights treaties (Treaty-based bodies and mechanisms);
- Mechanisms linked to United Nations charter-based bodies.
So far these mechanisms have been under-utilised for invoking the responsibility of states when business enterprises operating on their territory commit Human Rights violations. These mechanisms are unable to issue enforceable sanctions on either states or companies; they can only show up states in a shameful light. However, NGOs have a crucial role to play in ensuring that such procedures are as effective as possible.