EU Agency for Fundamental Rights paper looks at examples of business-related human rights abuse and factors facilitating access to remedy

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Article
4 December 2019

Business-related human rights abuse reported in the EU and available remedies

Author: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

...In 2017, the European Commission asked the EU Agency for Fundamental Rights (FRA) to collect evidence on [...] access [to effective remedies] in the EU Member States, with the ultimate goal of identifying the EU actions most needed in this field. FRA’s resulting research involved two phases: desk research on different incidents of abuse; and interview-based fieldwork on professionals’ views on the availability and effectiveness of different complaint avenues.

This focus paper presents preliminary findings from the first phase of the research... It gives an overview of select examples of business-related human rights abuse identified through the desk research, referring to the types of industry sectors involved and complaints mechanisms used.

The findings presented are linked to FRA’s previous work in this area, in particular its 2017 Opinion on Improving access to remedy in the area of business and human rights at the EU level, which had been requested by the Council of the EU. The findings from the second phase of FRA’s research will be presented in 2020 in a separate report...

The paper covers the following topics:

  1. Legal and policy context
  2. Incidents of business-related human rights abuse in EU Member States
  3. Summary and next steps

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Report
4 December 2019

FULL REPORT: Business-related human rights abuse reported in the EU and available remedies

Author: European Union Agency for Fundamental Rights

The overview of incidents of business-related human rights abuse identified in the research points to certain recurrent issues as regards access to remedy in this area, such as types of rights affected or the sector of business involved...

[T]he first phase of the research helped to determine some of the factors that either create obstacles for or, conversely, play a key role in facilitating access to justice in relation to human rights abuses by business. These include:

  • the role of due diligence by companies for victims to be more willing and able to bring cases;
  • ...the availability of collective redress...
  • how rules of evidence have an impact on effective access to remedy;
  • the role of non-judicial mechanisms...
  • how cross-border liability, both intra-EU and involving a third-country component, affects access to a remedy...

On the basis of the findings of the second phase of the research, a comparative report will be published in 2020... It intends to provide clear guidance to the European Union on measures that are most needed to improve access to justice...

On this basis, the comparative report will identify major obstacles for victims seeking justice..., and will try to formulate proposals on how to overcome those obstacles...

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