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29 Nov 2017

Michael Quayle & Emily Holland, Freshfields Bruckhaus Deringer

UN Forum on Business & Human Rights - Day Two Recap

[Note: This piece was also published as part of the UN Forum blog series here.]

Courts are increasingly being asked to consider what the international law boundaries to human rights litigation are, and whether voluntary undertakings aligned to the UN Guiding Principles can give rise to a duty of care... [P]rosecution ultimately turns on political will... Lawyers [...] can be valuable partners in helping corporates understand the issues and formulate policy and strategy... Many speakers – including those from the business community – noted that embedding respect for human rights [...] is no longer a “nice-to-have” but increasingly a business priority... While exiting a problematic operational context or business relationship may communicate a company’s stance on human rights issues, or prevent serious human rights harm, guidance is increasingly giving the message that the full range of options need to be considered in light of the potential, negative effects on vulnerable populations... Judicial and non-judicial mechanisms can furnish uniquely different outcomes for protecting, respecting, and remedying human rights concerns... Grievance mechanisms must be carefully conceived and appropriate to local circumstances and the specific issues.