Introducing OHCHR’s Accountability and Remedy Project

Office of the UN High Commissionner for Human Rights, Accountability and Remedy Project

In June this year, it will be four years since the UN Human Rights Council endorsed the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. There is much to celebrate: progress in implementation is being made, notably in the fields of human rights due diligence and corporate reporting, and several states have or are engaging in developing national action plans for implementation of the Guiding Principles. However, lack of access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses is still a serious problem and will remain so without a concerted effort from States and business.

That is why the Office of the UN High Commissioner for Human Rights (“OHCHR”) has launched an initiative – the “Accountability and Remedy Project” – which aims to make domestic legal responses fairer and more effective for victims, particularly in cases of business involvement in the most serious forms of human rights abuses. A ‘fairer and more effective system’ would be one where all victims have access to an effective remedy and no one is denied access to justice because of where he or she is located; where victims are able to seek justice irrespective of their own financial resources; where there are clear standards of corporate behaviour; and where enforcement and sanctions ensure accountability and contribute towards prevention of future harm.

The Accountability and Remedy Project (“ARP” for short) aims to contribute to such a system by providing concrete and practical recommendations and guidance to States to help them implement the crucial “Third Pillar” of the UN Guiding Principles more comprehensively and effectively. In April 2015, we plan to launch a global online consultation process to collect information and experiences from a wide range of jurisdictions on issues such as domestic law tests for corporate liability, how to overcome the financial obstacles to legal claims, and appropriate remedies and sanctions.  

We are grateful to the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre for providing an online space for this project. OHCHR will use this space to keep everyone informed about the Accountability and Remedy Project, key developments and milestones, and opportunities to get involved at different stages. It is very important to us – and to the success of the Accountability and Remedy Project – that the process is inclusive and transparent. To learn more about the background and scope of the initiative, visit the Frequently Asked Questions. We hope this Q&A page will answer any initial questions you may have about the Project, its background and aims, and how you can get involved.  However, if you have other questions, please contact us via [email protected].