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UN Forum Series Blog: Meaningful rights-holders engagement is key for human rights impact assessments

One of the key challenges, and indeed an important benchmark, with regard to the effective implementation of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) is that of meaningful consultation, dialogue, and engagement with affected, or potentially affected, rights-holders during human rights due diligence (HRDD) processes...Principle 18 of the UNGPs states that meaningful engagement of potentially affected groups and other stakeholders is an essential component of due diligence processes. However, in practice communities and other vulnerable or affected groups continue to be excluded from these processes and often face obstacles to their voices being heard...A notable example of...efforts to improve meaningful engagement and ensure actual participation of affected groups are community-led Human Rights Impact Assessments (community-led HRIAs)...While there is an increase in company-led HRIAs, it is also true that they often fail to engage properly with local communities...[C]ommunity-led HRIAs place communities’ concerns as the starting point and the planning and implementation of the process is conducted from the rights-holders’ perspective...

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