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28 Aug 2015

Dr. Anil Yilmaz Vastardis, Univ. of Brighton, on Univ. of Essex Human Rights Centre Blogs

Companies’ rigorous reporting would empower victims of human rights abuses in building case against firms, says academic

"The Impact of enhanced corporate transparency on access to remedy for victims of corporate human rights abuses: Some reflections on the decision of the US Court in the Exxon Mobil case", 27 aug 2015

…Obstacles to accessing remedies for such cross-border claims were analysed in depth in a 2013 Report…and evidentiary burden are listed among the most significant barriers to the success of these claims…The separate personality, combined with the allocation of the burden of proof on the claimant to show the direct involvement of the parent, and the difficulties in obtaining such evidence…makes it a miracle for claimants to even overcome the jurisdictional hurdles of such a claim…As a result, a recent US court ruling allowing a case of human rights abuses filed against ExxonMobil by Indonesian citizens to proceed under the Alien Tort Statute (‘ATS’) is being hailed as a victory for the enforcement of human rights law…Had the claimants not had access to internal company documents during discovery, they would not have the information that helped them show domestic conduct sought by the court…Reporting on human rights due diligence would allow claimants to acquire knowledge about what the company does or fails to do about identifying, preventing, mitigating and remedying adverse human rights impact. Closing the information gap between the company and the victim would certainly allow the claimant carrying the burden of proof to present a stronger case. [Also refers to Ericsson, Nestlé, Unilver]