CORPORATE ACCOUNTABILITY - November 2011
Launch of the Business and Human Rights Documentation(B-HRD)Project
ESCR-Net-together with the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law-celebrated the launch of the Business and Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD pronounced "Be Heard") Project in New York on June 28th, 2011. The event included a lively discussion between corporate accountability advocates regarding the value of B-HRD in their efforts to hold companies to account for human rights abuses. Arguing that B-HRD serves as an institutional memory for the business human rights community, Lisa Misol, Senior Researcher at Human Rights Watch added that it "allows us to look back at what has been achieved, to cross-pollinate with the other organizations working on particular situations, informs decisions on how to move forward and highlights parts of the world that are under-documented," and that it "serves as a much needed reality check on the people sitting in conferences in various capitals around the world who don't otherwise hear the stories and see the faces unless they are brought to them." B-HRD contains three main sections: In Focus highlights particular situations, the tactics used by human rights defenders to hold businesses accountable, and a profile of the advocates involved; Tools & Strategy Forum offers a platform to exchange tools, resources, and advocacy strategies, and a searchable Database of over 160 human rights reports. Following the New York event, a Latin American Launch of BHRD was held in Colombia on August 10, 2011 hosted by the Program for Global Justice and Human Rights at the University of the Andes Law School. "Learning from these common struggles is now more important than ever as corporations increasingly dominate a globalized world in the absence of proper regulatory frameworks. We believe that B-HRD is going to be a vital and powerful tool in the fight against corporate impunity," said CHRGJ Faculty Director and B-HRD Co-founder, Smita Narula. Watch video footage of the New York launch event!
Op-Ed: “High Tech, Low Pay: Let the Workers Behind Our Electronics Be Heard”
CHRGJ's Smita Narula and ESCR-Net's Niko Lusiani joined together in an Op-Ed "High Tech, Low Pay: Let the Workers Behind Our Electronics Be Heard," which laid bare the human rights impacts of China's electronics industry, focusing in particular on several Apple plants in the Pearl River Delta region and highlighting the work of local partners. Read the entire Op-Ed on the Huffington Post here.
Advocacy on Business and Human Rights in the United Nations Human Rights Council
ESCR-Net's Corporate Accountability Working Group (CAWG) has worked to establish a robust mechanism following the end of the mandate of the UN Special Representative to the Secretary General General on Business and Human Rights which would aim to close existing gaps in protection and prevention of business-related human rights abuses, mechanisms for redress and overall accountability. In May 2011, the CAWG and its partners presented a Joint Civil Society Statement, which urged the Human Rights Council to vigorously advance the global business and human rights agenda. During an intense week of lobbying delegations in Geneva, the CAWG delivered a Joint Oral Statement to the 17th Session of the Human Rights Council. When a draft resolution for the new UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights was released, the CAWG and its partners delivered a third Joint Civil Society Statement on June 15, 2011 expressing concerns about the mechanism's proposed mandate. CAWG stressed the need for the Council to select a set of experts for the new Working Group who have demonstrated experience in human rights and a proven ability to engage with affected individuals and communities. At its eighteenth session in September 2011, the Human Rights Council appointed the following as members of the Working Group: Mr. Michael Addo (Ghana), Ms. Alexandra Guaqueta (Colombia/USA), Ms. Margaret Jungk (USA), Mr. Puvan Selvanathan (Malaysia) and Mr. Pavel Sulyandziga (Russian Federation); they will formally take up their role on 1 November 2011. ESCR-Net will continue to monitor the developments at the Human Rights Council, and seek ways to strengthen the voices of our members in the pursuit of justice for business-related human rights abuses.
“Democratizing Global Economic Governance: Networks, Knowledge Infrastructure, and Civil Society Capacity in the Americas”
ESCR-Net participated in an International Workshop in Bogota, Colombia August 11-12, 2011, organized by ESCR-Net member Center for Law, Justice and Society (Dejusticia). This workshop is part of an action-research project (Democratizing Global Economic Governance) that seeks to increase civil society engagement in global economic governance by strengthening transnational networks and developing an accessible knowledge infrastructure. ESCR-Net presented its experiences developing the B-HRD Project.
Please contact Rebecca Brown if you are interested in finding out more about this Working Group and how to get involved at rbrown [at] escr-net.org.