CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY - December 2009
UN Consultations on Business and Human Rights
In its ongoing advocacy for corporate accountability, ESCR-Net's Corporate Accountability Working Group (WG) continues to engage with UN processes related to business and human rights, especially within the mandate of the Special Representative of the Secretary General (SRSG) on Business and Human Rights. Most recently, ESCR-Net member the International Commission of Jurists and Friedrich-Ebert-Stiftung along with the ESCR-Net Secretariat organized a Civil Society Forum on business and human rights on October 4, 2009 to coordinate and strategize in the lead-up to the UN global consultation in Geneva organized by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights on operationalizing the 'Protect, Respect, Remedy' framework developed by the SRSG. In the lead-up to this consultation, the Working Group prepared Part I of the Advocacy Guide on Business and Human Rights in the United Nations to enable civil society groups worldwide to take a more active part in the debates occurring in the UN on holding business accountable to human rights. The WG later presented a submission to the OHCHR on several issues of shared concern, including ensuring the participation of affected groups in the operationalization of the 'Protect, Respect, Remedy' framework; strengthening the State duty to protect through international cooperation; highlighting State obligations within international financial institutions; recognizing the legal underpinnings of the responsibility to respect; clarifying the scope of the human right to access an effective remedy; and reiterating the outstanding need for a global protection mechanism.
The Business and Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD) Project
The Working Group and the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at New York University School of Law have made considerable technical and substantive progress in developing the Business and Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD) Project. B-HRD will provide grassroots groups, NGOs, policymakers, experts, advocates, academics, and the public at large a comprehensive and expanding repository of pre-digested and credible information authored by human rights NGOs and other organizations that use a human rights framework to document business impacts on human rights around the world.
We have designed the overall look and feel of the site, and developed the needed information architecture. B-HRD will consist of three major sections-a Database compiling and analyzing existing human rights documentation, an "In Focus" section highlighting particular situations of abuse and a "Working Papers" section fostering scholarship on business and human rights. Having integrated such enhancements, we now expect to launch it in mid-2010.
We are now soliciting human rights reports from organizations which carry out first-hand documentation of business-related human rights abuses. To view the key selection criteria, click here. Send your report(s) and whatever other related information to firstname.lastname@example.org, or by post to: Business and Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD) Project, c/o ESCR-Net, 211 East 43rd Street, #906, New York, NY 10017, USA.
International Seminar: Transnational Companies and Human Rights: Litigation from the Perspective of the Victims, Colombia
Various ESCR-Net members, as well as the ESCR-Net Secretariat, participated in the International Seminar on Transnational Companies and Human Rights: Litigation from the Perspective of the Victims organized by Colectivo de Abogados from November 11-13, 2009 in Suesca, Colombia. The event served to build mutual understanding between participating NGOs, lawyers' collectives and affected communities from across the Americas and Europe, to reflect on the international human rights framework and political context governing companies and to propose alternatives to strengthen accountability of business actors. The seminar helped participants understand the experiences and views of affected communities and share obstacles faced in the search for truth, justice and reparations at the national, regional and international levels. Finally, the seminar provided a key opportunity to develop and strengthen spaces for collaboration and collective action between affected communities and lawyers across Latin America, US and the European Union.
To share information or strategies with other corporate accountability advocates, subscribe to the Corporate Accountability Discussion Group.