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The Business and Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD) Project

In response to the need for a public advocacy-oriented information portal compiling existing human rights documentation on business and human rights issues, we have begun developing the Business & Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD) Project. B-HRD (pronounced Be-Heard) is a cutting edge advocacy and educational resource that digests existing human rights reports based on first-hand research to identify the impacts businesses have across industries and regions on the full spectrum of rights embodied under international law. Together with our university partner the Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ), New York University School of Law, the B-HRD Project will complement other valuable sources of information, such as the Business and Human Rights Resource Center and MisFortune 500, by providing a comprehensive, interactive collection of human rights reports and related information which allows users to search by industry sector, geographic location, particular right(s) affected, and accountability mechanism(s) pursued. The B-HRD Project will thereby serve as a repository of reliable human rights reporting in the field, and in so doing, help identify particular trouble spots for business and human rights issues, showcase gaps in the human rights documentation effort to date, and encourage further human rights-based documentation of business activities. In addition, the "In Focus" section of will provide in-depth, updated information and analysis about particular situations of abuse. To enhance mutual-learning amongst advocates, this section will also provide information about-and links to-relevant organizations, encouraging groups to learn from each other's experiences on the ground with corporate accountability issues. Finally, the Working Paper Series section of will generate scholarship on the subject and encourage additional contributions to this emerging field, which in turn will help inform policy debates. will be launched later in 2009.

Get involved!
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, 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. To share information or strategies with other corporate accountability advocates, subscribe to the Corporate Accountability Discussion Group.

Advocacy Guide on Business and Human Rights in the United Nations

During discussions in Nairobi, various members envisioned an important role for the Corporate Accountability Working Group in mobilizing information and expertise from Network members about the ongoing business and human rights debate within the UN. In response, we have developed the Advocacy Guide on Business and Human Rights (BHR) in the UN, which aims to enable civil society groups worldwide to take a more active part in the debates occurring in the UN around the issue of business accountability to human rights by informing them about the distinct processes therein. Part I of this guide will inform civil society actors about the history and emerging issues of one important entry point for advocacy within the UN on BHR: the UN Special Representative on Business and Human Rights (SRSG), Professor John Ruggie. The Guide describes the positions and actions of the Working Group and other organizations over the years, assesses how useful this advocacy have been, and suggests some emerging issues for advocacy within the context of the current SRSG mandate. Part II of this Guide plans to expand upon the first to include other entry points for advocacy within the UN, such as the Human Rights Council, treaty bodies, other Special Rapporteurs and more. We hope this tool will be helpful in informing our members and others in their interventions in the UN and beyond and promoting engagement with ongoing international debates to better address business-related human rights abuses and strengthen corporate accountability.  The Advocacy Guide will be released with ample time before the October 4-5 Consultation on Business and Human Rights organized by the Office of the High Commissioner of Human Rights (OHCHR).

UN Consultations on Business and Human Rights

In its continuing advocacy for corporate accountability, the Working Group continues to engage with various UN processes by ensuring the voice and perspective of directly affected communities, grassroots groups and local level human rights organizations in international processes related to business and human rights, especially within the mandate of SRSG on Business and Human Rights. ESCR-Net members participated in the SRSG's regional consultations in India and Argentina, engaging substantively on the issues and producing declarations at each event. In preparation for the Argentina SRSG regional consultation, the Working Group organized a regional strategy meeting on corporate accountability, which brought together members from across Latin America to share impressions and insights on the work of the SRSG, and more broadly to exchange strategies and build collaborative efforts at the regional level. The Working Group also organized a panel during this time entitled, "The Indiscriminate Use of Agro-toxins and its Impact on Health and the Environment: The Latin American Experience," with speakers from Argentina, Paraguay, Brazil and Ecuador. The Working Group plans to enhance its organizing efforts with members in preparation for the October consultation on business and human rights convened by the OHCHR.

Corporate Accountability Online Forum

With the aim of building more opportunities for real-time interaction between members interested in debating corporate accountability issues and discussing collective action, we are now developing the new Corporate Accountability Online Forum, a private, online platform for networking and online exchanges in real-time among NGOs, social movements, grassroots groups and academics on issues of urgent and lasting strategic interest. The Online Forum is loaded with the following features for mutual-learning and collaboration:

  • Discussion forum, where a particular issue can be discussed, with easy document uploading
  • Real-time chatting with members (helpful for one-on-one or small group connections)
  • Individual member profiles, so you know who is in the community
  • Video and photo posting
  • Calendar of events, edited by community members
  • Creation of smaller sub-groups, such as by region or topic
  • Send a message to one member or broadcast to all members
  • Language translation capability, so different language speakers can communicate with one another

While the ESCR-Net Corporate Accountability Discussion Group will remain a useful tool for exchanging information amongst the larger public, the Online Forum is devoted to more private one-on-one or small group dynamics within the CAWG itself to discuss particular and strategic issues.

Get involved!
To participate or learn more about this online community, please email Niko Lusiani at

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