Two UN human rights experts are urging states and international businesses to take action against corporate fraud.

The experts also called on ratings agencies to downgrade businesses responsible for unethical practices, such as shielding the true prices of commodities in intra-company transactions to evade tax.

Illicit financial flows

The UN independent expert who monitors the impact of illicit financial flows on foreign debt and human rights said states should cooperate to prevent “unethical tax avoidance schemes.”

Juan Pablo Bohoslavsky made the comment in the wake of practices revealed in information contained in recently leaked papers from Bermuda-based law firm, Appleby.

The so-called Paradise Papers “presented systematic tax avoidance by well-known international corporations making use of tax havens in places such as Bermuda, the Cayman Islands and the Isle of Man,” the UN has said.

Corporate responsibility

Chairperson of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights, Surya Deva, called on businesses to assume their corporate responsibility in line with the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights.

“All business enterprises have a responsibility to avoid adverse human rights impacts caused or contributed by their tax evasion practices,” said Deva, referring to practices such as transfer pricing which may be substantially diminishing tax revenues in emerging commodity-based economies.

The issue of corporate tax avoidance will be addressed at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights later this month in Geneva, Switzerland.