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22 Jul 2015

Irit Tamir, Oxfam America

Blog: "Can communities and businesses limit human rights infringements by working together? Yes, here’s how"

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Businesses with projects that impact vulnerable communities are starting to use HRIAs to manage risks, thanks to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. However, as businesses assess the potential impact of their projects, they often fail to meaningfully engage with the very people whose rights they are at risk of violating. Rather, they rely heavily on desk research or interview only government officials and international nongovernmental organizations...Community-led HRIAs...have a better sense of the impact business investments are having on them..[A] third way may be possible: HRIAs conducted in a jointly managed process or, alternatively, in parallel processes with companies and communities informing one another of their HRIAs. Though implementation challenges remain, fusing community- and company-led HRIA methodologies or conducting parallel processes could enable companies to minimize human rights infringements experienced by local communities, while internalizing the lessons into their organization for use in future operations.