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24 Nov 2017

Jo Reyes, GBI, Business and Human Rights Journal

Commentary: Mental health must be considered in remedial processes for cases of corporate-related harm

Adopting a mental health lens in assessing the appropriacy and effectiveness of remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse is crucial... [and] little explored in many areas... Effective OLGMs can be critical in catching grievances before they constitute an abuse, so their potential value is high when viewing a rights holder-centred approach through a mental health lens in a business context... 

In adopting a rights holder-based approach to remedy, there is an implicit need to understand how an individual experiences a negative human rights impact; the nature and effect of that impact; and its implications in both the short and long-term... To adopt a rights holder-centred approach to remedy, there is a need to meet the victim ‘where they are at.’ The impact of the remedial process and outcome can then have a further positive or – equally significant – negative impact on the victim. 

When assessing appropriate remedy, we should also remain mindful of the potential for negative impacts –elongated victim narratives or chronic stress caused by prolonged litigation; large financial pay-outs to communities with pre-existing high levels of substance abuse (risking exacerbation); and of cultural sensitivity where traditional methods may be undermined by clinical forms of intervention...