At its eighteenth session in September 2011, the Human Rights Council appointed the following five independent experts:
Michael Addo (Ghana)
Michael Addo is a Senior Lecturer in international human rights law at the University of Exeter. He holds a PhD and LLM and is qualified as a lawyer and advocate at the Ghana Bar. He has authored and edited several books including one of the earliest collection of essays on Human Rights Standards amd the Responsibility of Transnational Corporations (Nijhoff 1998) as well as many other journal and conference publications in this field.
Alexandra Jaquenetta (Colombia)
Alexandra Guaqueta holds a M.Phil./D.Phil. International Relations with expertise on global governance and is currently attached to the School of International Studies at Flinders University. Ms. Guaqueta’s has extensive academic and practical expertise particularly on the issue of business and human rights in conflict affected areas. She led the work in Cerrejon (Colombia) on piloting rights-compatible Grievance Mechanism guidelines.
Margaret Jungk (USA)
Margaret Jungk holds a PhD and Masters in International Relations and Political Science with a focus on human rights. She is the Founder and Director of the Human Rights & Business Department at the Danish Institute for Human Rights, which was the first dedicated unit on Human Rights and Business in a National Human Rights Institution worldwide. She has over a decade of experience advising multinational companies on mainstreaming human rights into business operations.
Puvan J Selvanathan (Malaysia)
Puvan Selvanathan advises multinational companies on global sustainability strategy, with a focus on the Palm Oil sector. He is an Architect by profession, holds an MBA and is now completing his DBA in Corporate Sustainability. He has been involved for over 10 years in developing the Malaysian business community’s understanding of ethics, good governance and corporate responsibility. In his current role he is engaged in establishing human rights principles in companies in the large-scale agricultural sector.
Pavel Sulyandziga (Russian Federation)
Pavel Sulyandziga holds a degree in economics and works on the issue of protection of indigenous rights in the context of business. He has worked in government agencies and community organizations. He was a member of the UN Permanent Forum on Indigenous Issues. He is currently a member of the Public Chamber of Russia (an elected statutory body of civil society of Russia), and chairs the Working Group on the development of remote areas of the North, Siberia and the Far East of the Russian Federation. (From Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Have your say! Help a new UN body ensure respect for human rights by business, Nov. 2011).
The mandate of the Working Group is broad:
- To promote the effective and comprehensive dissemination and implementation of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework;
- To identify, exchange and promote good practices and lessons learned on the implementation of the Guiding Principles and to assess and make recommendations thereon and, in that context, to seek and receive information from all relevant sources, including Governments, transnational corporations and other business enterprises, national human rights institutions, civil society and rights-holders;
- To provide support for efforts to promote capacity-building and the use of the Guiding Principles, as well as, upon request, to provide advice and recommendations regarding the development of domestic legislation and policies relating to business and human rights;
- To conduct country visits and to respond promptly to invitations from States;
- To continue to explore options and make recommendations at the national, regional and international levels for enhancing access to effective remedies available to those whose human rights are affected by corporate activities, including those in conflict areas;
- To integrate a gender perspective throughout the work of the mandate and to give special attention to persons living in vulnerable situations, in particular children;
- To work in close cooperation and coordination with other relevant special procedures of the Human Rights Council, relevant United Nations and other international bodies, the treaty bodies and regional human rights organizations;
- To develop a regular dialogue and discuss possible areas of cooperation with Governments and all relevant actors, including relevant United Nations bodies, specialized agencies, funds and programmes, in particular the Office of the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights, the Global Compact, the International Labour Organization, the World Bank and its International Finance Corporation, the United Nations Development Programme and the International Organization for Migration, as well as transnational corporations and other business enterprises, national human rights institutions, representatives of indigenous peoples, civil society organizations and other regional and subregional international organizations;
- To guide the work of the Forum on Business and Human Rights;
- To report annually to the Human Rights Council and the General Assembly. (From Working Group on the issue of human rights and transnational corporations and other business enterprises).
To aid it in its initial work, the Working Group announced that it
is inviting governments, companies, trade unions, international agencies, national human rights institutions and NGOs to share their thoughts to help it establish its work programme. The UN Working Group on Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises will take into account proposals by all relevant actors in advance of its first session (16-20 January 2012), during which its five independent experts will determine the Group’s key thematic priorities and activities. Let them know what you think at firstname.lastname@example.org. Deadline for submissions is 8 december 2011. (From Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights, Have your say! Help a new UN body ensure respect for human rights by business, Nov. 2011).
Those who might be interested in where and how the Working Group helps take the Guiding Principles might consider contributing to the dialogue, or just following along. The most important aspect, though, will be the way in which, perhaps through the Working Group, the soft law multi-level soft law structure of the Guiding Principles, might be institutionalized. That might occur first through soft institutionalization--through the Working Group and the development of a web of civil society allies, which together will produce a set of authoritative glosses on the Guiding Principles in which the normative focus of the Guiding Principles will be nurtured and authoritative interpreters are identified. Hard institutionalization may follow. In that later process, it will be most interesting to see how the organizational prerogatives of the Human Rights Commission is harmonized with the institutional capacities of the OECD NCP system. While the two institutions are working toward the same ends, and incorporating the Guiding Principles in substantial respects, their organizational aims and cultures are sufficiently incompatible that it may make what is a natural partnership much harder to effectuate.