Business & Human Rights Journal 2/1

Business and Human Rights Journal Volume 2 Issue 1 is now out. Readers can enjoy free access to the articles until April 2017.

The Business and Human Rights Journal (BHRJ) provides an authoritative platform for scholarly debate on all issues concerning the intersection of business and human rights in an open, critical and interdisciplinary manner. It seeks to advance the academic discussion on business and human rights as well as promote concern for human rights in business practice.

Includes peer-reviewed articles published alongside shorter ‘Developments in the Field’ items that include policy, legal and regulatory developments, as well as case studies and insight pieces.

Editors- in- Chief: 

Surya Deva, City University of Hong Kong 
Anita Ramasastry, University of Washington School of Law 
Michael Santoro, Rutgers Business School 
Florian Wettstein, University of St Gallen

Volume 2, issue 1

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Article
23 February 2017

Corporate Readiness and the Human Rights Risks of Applying FPIC in the Global Mining Industry

Author: Deanna Kemp, John R. Owen (University of Queensland), Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

As indigenous peoples have sought recognition of their individual and collective rights, the topic of free prior and informed consent (FPIC) has been pushed to the forefront of debates about resource development…The relevance of FPIC to mining is three-fold: (i) the rights of indigenous and tribal peoples are becoming more firmly recognized in international human rights norms and case law; (ii) mineral exploration and mine expansion activities increasingly occur in locations which affect the land and resource rights of indigenous peoples; and (iii) extractive companies now engage with business and human rights debates, largely due to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights…In this piece, we provide a brief account of recent developments in the mining sector that confirm this ‘push’ and consider implications for mining industry practitioners. Our focus, in this piece, is to explore a series of practice-based issues and questions relating to the application of FPIC in the mining sector…

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Article
23 February 2017

Determining Criteria to Evaluate Outcomes of Businesses’ Provision of Remedy: Applying a Human Rights-Based Approach

Author: Benjamin THOMPSON, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (GPs) expect businesses to participate in operational-level, non-judicial mechanisms to address the grievances of communities affected by their activities. While there is guidance on operational-level grievance mechanisms as to what constitutes an effective process, inquiries into the effectiveness of outcomes have been met with less success. This article identifies three key incongruities within the GPs regarding effective outcomes: (1) the broader interpretation of remedy within the Remedy Pillar compared to the Respect Pillar; (2) the novelty of enforcing human rights through dialogue and engagement as opposed to adjudication; and (3) the difficulty in reconciling objective human rights standards with the subjective preferences of the parties. It then aims to resolve these issues by applying a human rights-based approach: examining how empowerment of communities can act as the founding basis for understanding whether an outcome is effective. It concludes by examining the working of the Porgera Mine mechanism from this perspective.

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Article
23 February 2017

Empty Promises and the Myth of Mining: Does Mining Lead to Pro-Poor Development?

Author: Bonita MEYERSFELD, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

Mining operations in the Global South often worsen conditions for affected communities after the conclusion of the operations as compared to pre-mining conditions. This is regression, not progress, which is contrary to the narrative surrounding mining’s promise of economic growth. While mining certainly brings profit, this profit does not result in social and economic development of affected communities and people living in poverty. This is the ‘myth of mining’ and the objective of this article is to expose this myth, identify its failings and propose a notion of ‘equitable mining’ that could ensure a pro-poor mining industry.

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Article
23 February 2017

Human Rights Impact Assessment of Business Activities: Key Criteria for Establishing a Meaningful Practice

Author: Nora GÖTZMAN, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

This article considers the emerging practice of human rights impact assessment (HRIA) in the field of business and human rights. As HRIA is relatively new, current approaches vary considerably, indicating that there is a need for the business and human rights community to engage in further dialogue and debate about what good practice HRIA can and should entail. I propose five key criteria for HRIA of business activities: (1) applying international human rights standards; (2) considering the full scope of impacts; (3) adopting a human rights-based process; (4) ensuring accountability; and (5) addressing impacts according to severity. It is suggested that these criteria should form the basis of methodologies used to assess human rights impacts of business activities, with the view to developing HRIA practice that meaningfully contributes to preventing and addressing adverse impacts of business activities on the human rights enjoyment of workers and communities.

Article
23 February 2017

Incorporating Children and Adolescents’ Rights in Corporate Management: A Tool Based on Strategic Maps and the Sustainability Balanced Scorecard

Author: Lívia Menezes Pagotto, Leticia Arthuzo, Aron Belinky, Daniela Gomes Pinto, Mario Monzoni (Centre for Sustainability Studies - Fundação Getulio Vargas), Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

...Brazil has seen a boom in large-scale investment projects...due to the Growth Acceleration Program (PAC), a massive federal investment in infrastructure development…Such projects constitute a challenge for local development...children and adolescents are frequently one of the most vulnerable groups, therefore in need of extra care. This is reinforced by the Brazilian Statute of the Child and Adolescent (ECA)…Despite the law, measures designed to prioritize children and adolescents’ human rights and to prevent their violations are not always included in both risk assessment and management by the organizations in charge of investment projects. This trend might be changing in Brazil as some recent court decisions have held businesses accountable for the direct and indirect impacts of their activities and products on children and adolescents' rights. It is in consideration of this gap—between guaranteeing priority and full protection to children and adolescents—that this piece presents a corporate tool designed to facilitate the incorporation of children and adolescents’ full protection guidelines into business processes and practices...

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Article
23 February 2017

Mega-Sporting Events and Human Rights—A Time for More Teamwork?

Author: Lucy AMIS, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

Mega-Sporting Events (MSEs) like the Olympics and FIFA World Cup inspire humanity and have the potential to promote human rights, including through job creation and urban regeneration. Yet for over a decade MSEs have been linked to a pattern of human rights abuses that reads like a panoply of Business and Human Rights themes. The very legitimacy and social license of MSEs is increasingly on the line. Yet we may have reached a tipping point. In the past year the Commonwealth Games Federation, FIFA, and the International Olympic Committee have begun to instigate human rights reforms. A new multi-stakeholder coalition, chaired by Mary Robinson and facilitated by IHRB, meanwhile is pursuing innovative collaborate solutions to the human rights issues at stake. Supported by international agencies, governments, sports bodies, sponsors and broadcasters, and civil society, this coalition seeks to promote learning and accountability in a sector for whom business and human rights is new territory.

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Article
23 February 2017

Molmou v Guinea: The ECOWAS Court of Justice at the Service of its Member States

Author: Fréderic Foromo LOUA, Jonathan KAUFMAN, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

Since May 1987, the Société Guinéenne de Palmier Huile et d’Hévéas (SOGUIPAH)… has forcibly occupied land that was traditionally owned and farmed by the people of Saoro District [and] on 3 February 2003, the Guinean government granted SOGUIPAH an executive decree expropriating community land and transferring it to the company…Community members organized protests and resistance to SOGUIPAH’s occupation [but the company and] the state’s response was consistent and brutal… Given the involvement of Guinean government forces, the people of Saoro… decided to sue Guinea and SOGUIPAH in the ECOWAS Court of Justice… [The Court’s decision] diverges in several significant respects from international jurisprudence…[as it] dismissed the claims against SOGUIPAH because ‘only states can be defendants in suits for the violation of human rights’…, concluded that its protection against deprivation does not apply to the people of Saoro because they do not constitute a ‘people’ …[and] dismissed the claims of violent abuse…on the basis of a lack of documentary proof…In the SOGUIPAH case, the Court has rendered a judgment whose approach and analysis…could make justice unattainable for traditional communities lacking formal land title or documentary proof of human rights violations.

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Article
23 February 2017

Respecting Human Rights in Conflict Regions: How to Avoid the ‘Conflict Spiral’

Author: Andreas GRAF and Andrea IFF, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

This article introduces a novel way in which human rights due diligence can be ‘enhanced’ to respond to business and human rights challenges specific to conflict affected areas. It makes two key arguments. First, it claims that a crucial and often neglected factor for understanding human rights risks in conflict affected areas is that businesses face escalating and largely unpredictable human rights risks once they become involved in conflict. Second, the article shows how integrating aspects of the well-established method of conflict sensitive business practice into human rights due diligence can help companies address this challenge. For instance, companies should include a conflict analysis in human rights impact assessments and systematically identify and address their actual or potential impacts on conflict. This article provides support to a UN Working Group proposal for the integration of conflict sensitive business practices into human rights due diligence.

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Article
23 February 2017

The Elephant in the Room": Corporate Tax Avoidance & Business and Human Rights

Author: Shane Darcy, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

This article addresses tax avoidance by companies in the context of the emerging field of business and human rights. It describes the mechanics of corporate tax avoidance and the human costs of such practices. It then considers the extent to which tax issues have been addressed by corporate social responsibility, before turning to business and human rights and assessing the potential value of the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights in this context. The article draws on the experience of Ireland, given the country’s connection to abusive tax practices associated with large multinational corporations and its support for the United Nations Guiding Principles on business and human rights.

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Article
23 February 2017

The Implementation of the UN Guiding Principles into Daily Business Operations and the 2020 Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games

Author: Hiroshi ISHIDA, Hiroki WADA, Business and Human Rights Journal, Volume 2, Issue 1

The UN Guiding Principles can contribute to the promotion of human rights during the management of mega-sporting events MSEs...However, there are some cases that highlight that host countries, local organizing committees, and companies have failed in respecting, supporting and promoting human rights during MSEs… CRT Japan acknowledges that the 2020 Tokyo Olympic Games (the 2020 Tokyo Games) offers a significant opportunity for the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles…In 2015, the Group of Experts for Sustainable Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games (Group of Experts).. was formed to make the 2020 Tokyo Games contribute to environmental, labour and human rights issues arising from the preparations for the Games…Responding to the public interest and concern, CRT Japan and the Institute for Human Rights and Business (IHRB) produced a ‘Proposed Human Rights Statement for the Tokyo Olympic and Paralympic Games in 2020’…In addition to the Human Rights Statement, CRT Japan and IHRB produced a ‘Proposed Sustainable Sourcing Policy’…RT Japan is now striving to establish grievance mechanisms in Asia/ASEAN region for Japanese companies [to help] elicit the voice of rights-holders, identify locally-specific human rights issues, and mitigate and effectively manage business-related human rights risks.

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