Sunday, February 08, 2015

From the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre: Annual Legal Accountability Annual Briefing

(Pix (c) Larry Catá Backer 2015)

The folks at the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre have recently announced the distribution of their Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing.  There are many useful resources and insights worth considering.  One might also reference the Centre’s Corporate Legal Accountability Portal (case profiles on over 100 lawsuits in all parts of the world, with expert commentary). 

The announcement follows with links.  The most interesting portions of the report consider what the BHRRC considers to be a narrowing of extraterritoriality application by home states.  I have tended to view that as a positive development, though it might not appear so to civil society actors taking a short term view of governance developments (from the Executive Summary: e.g., "The ability to hold a company legally accountable for human rights abuses, somewhere in the world, is the lynchpin to encourage business to respect human rights" pp. 2). My sense is that the lynchpin lies elsewhere (see HERE).   But what is suggested as a narrowing of extraterritoriality might merely mean a shift of locus of suit. More troubling are the increased harassment of human rights workers by multinational enterprises strategically using the legal system for potentially unethical ends.  The root of the strategy is grounded in an effort to exploit power and financial disparities to increase the transaction costs of monitoring enterprises.  It is here that there is a role for states, one they are unlikely to embrace.


Corporate Legal Accountability Annual Briefing - January 2015

Business & Human Rights Resource Centre is pleased to announce the publication of its third annual briefing on Corporate Legal Accountability.  The Resource Centre has tracked lawsuits against companies over their human rights impacts around the world for over a decade.  Based on our unique overview and data, three realities for victims seeking justice for corporate abuses are inescapable:
  • Existing venues for extraterritorial claims are closing, and governments of countries where multinationals are headquartered do not provide sufficient access to judicial remedy for their companies’ abuses.
  • Legal harassment of human rights defenders is on the rise for those working to hold businesses accountable for human rights abuse.
  • New, but limited, venues for corporate human rights claims are emerging as victims seek new paths to access judicial remedy.
Please see the links below for the full briefing and the executive summary (available in French, Spanish and Russian). The press release for the briefing is here.
Annual Briefing
The full text of the Annual Briefing is available here
Executive Summary
The executive summary of the Annual Briefing is available here

Also available in French, Russian and Spanish

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