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12 Nov 2015

Wendy Betts, eyeWitness to Atrocities

Monitoring Compliance with the UN Guiding Principles in Conflict Zones

The Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), in urging businesses to avoid causing or contributing to human rights violations and urging states to address business involvement in human rights violations, identify the heightened risk for gross violations in conflict-affected areas. Indeed, businesses increasingly have come under scrutiny, legal or otherwise, for their conduct in conflict zones that may have contributed to human rights abuses or even war crimes...In general, effective monitoring of the UNGPs requires access to accurate and verifiable information on corporate conduct and the human rights situation. Under normal circumstances, access to this information can be challenging. In conflict zones, the difficulty increases significantly...The International Bar Association (IBA) recently launched a tool, designed for use in conflict zones, that can be used to secure evidence of gross violations of human rights, by business or others. The IBA’s eyeWitness to Atrocities app (www.eyewitnessproject.org) is a mobile camera app designed to record video and take photos in a manner that will facilitate authentication of the footage...The eyeWitness app can play an important role in documenting and reporting on conduct contrary to the UNGPs, particularly in conflict zones. However, it is a tool that must work in tandem with other approaches to obtain a complete picture of the status of implementation of the UNGPs.