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Commentary: Arbitration as a method of resolving disputes around human rights abuses by businesses

“Arbitration: a new forum for business and human rights disputes?”, 20 Nov 2017

 …In line with this shifting focus by the international community on [access to remedy,] the third pillar of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), a working group of international law specialists published [“International Arbitration of Business and Human Rights Disputes,”] a proposal to use arbitration to resolve disputes that arise out of human rights abuses involving businesses (BHR disputes)…[T]he Working Group followed up with the publication of a “Questions & Answers” paper addressing key issues raised by consulted stakeholders.

According to the proposal, arbitration could be adapted for use in BHR disputes either…[b]y victims of human rights violations who wish to bring claims against businesses…[or to] resolve disputes involving human rights-related claims between commercial parties (for example, where a supplier fails to comply with certain contractually-imposed human rights obligations)…

…According to the working group, international arbitration “holds great promise” as a method of resolving BHR disputes, which often occur in regions where national courts are “dysfunctional, corrupt, politically influenced or simply unqualified”…

…The working group acknowledges that existing procedural arbitration rules are inadequate for dealing with BHR disputes, and that tailored arbitration rules should be developed…The working group is in the process of convening a drafting committee for this purpose…

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