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Commentary: Civil society is increasingly using strategic litigation to address corporate human rights abuses

Author: Dr Carolijn Terwindt & Christian Schliemann, European Center for Constitutional and Human Rights, in Civicus State of Civil Society Report 2017, Published on: 26 June 2017

"Transnational strategic litigation: an emerging part of civil society’s repertoire for corporate accountability", Jun 2017

…In response to transnational corporate involvement in human rights violations, civil society is increasingly exploring the tools offered by the law, and using strategic litigation to complement longstanding practices of campaigning, public protest, boycotts and negotiation…

The language of the law and the format of legal proceedings can provide an impetus for the articulation of the demands of social movements towards corporations and offer an alternative vocabulary, rooted in discourse about rights…

Legal interventions can draw attention to the ways in which companies disregard the human and environmental impacts of their products…

Where voluntary commitments have failed, the necessary incentive to ensure that proper safety measures are put in place can be provided by making retailers recognise that they are liable for harms occurring in their supply chains…

[W]hile civil lawsuits offer one way to demand corporate accountability, civil society can also use litigation to demand better state oversight…

Litigation cannot be the only strategy for civil society’s engagement with the private sector, and there are clear limits to what court proceedings can achieve. But ideally, litigation can contribute to placing checks on…transnational companies in global supply chains, such as those of industrialised agriculture, manufacturing and the arms trade…

[refers to Ali Enterprises, Bayer, Bayer Crop Science (part of Bayer), Heckler & Koch, Kik, Syngenta]

Read the full post here

Related companies: Bayer Bayer CropScience (part of Bayer) Heckler & Koch KiK Syngenta