July 07, 2010: New publication: Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: A Guide for Victims and NGOs on Recourse Mechanisms
The International Federation for Human Rights (FIDH) is pleased to announce the publication of a guide for victims and NGOs on recourse mechanisms in cases of corporate-related human rights violations. The guide was launched today in Amsterdam on the occasion of a public debate on corporate justice held in collaboration with the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre and OECD Watch and with the participation of experts such as Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on the right to food, author of the guide's foreword and former FIDH Secretary General and Katherine Gallagher, Attorney of the Centre for Constitutional Rights and FIDH Vice-President.
In all parts of the world, human rights and environmental abuses are taking place as a result of the direct or indirect action of corporations. In Latin America, union leaders are being shot for publicly claiming their rights in many countries such as Mexico, Colombia, Guatemala and El Salvador. From the Philippines to Peru, indigenous peoples' right to be consulted in relation to investment projects in the extractive industry continues to be ignored. Twenty years after the Bhopal tragedy, in which toxic gases leaked from a pesticide plant owned by the Union Carbide Corporation, thousands of surviving victims are still awaiting fair compensation and the plant site has still not been cleaned up.
Yet, victims of corporate-related abuses still struggle to obtain justice and as a result, impunity prevails
With this guide, FIDH seeks to provide a practical tool for victims and their representatives, NGOs and other civil society groups (unions, peasant associations, social movements, activists) to seek justice and obtain reparation for victims of human rights abuses involving multinational corporations.
The guide is comprised of five sections. Each examines a different type of instrument, including intergovernmental mechanisms, legal options, mediation mechanisms such as the OECD national contact points, complaints mechanisms stemming from financial support received by companies and mechanisms that can be explored according to voluntary commitments taken by companies.
FIDH hopes it will encourage the actors involved to share and exchange strategies on the outcomes of using these mechanisms and help to ensure victims of human rights violations can obtain justice.
The guide will be made available in French and Spanish. With an upcoming online interactive version, it is meant to be a dynamic tool that is accessible and that can be updated and improved.