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NYU Stern Ctr. for Business & Human Rights says IBA draft guidelines for lawyers needs more "attention to substantive industry standards"

Author: Michael Posner & Sarah Labowitz, NYU Stern Center for Business and Human Rights (USA), Published on: 13 April 2015

Letter to Intl. Bar Association, 25 March 2015

We write to offer our comments to the International Bar Association (IBA)’s working draft, “Business and Human Rights Guidance for Bar Associations.” We wholeheartedly welcome the [IBA's] very timely attention... However, we are concerned that the IBA’s draft guidance devotes too much attention to a due diligence exercise focused of internal company processes and insufficient attention to substantive industry standards that are essential to measuring human rights outcomes... [The draft] proposes the Guiding Principles as the primary substantive tool for lawyers to advise their clients...The next phase of the [global] effort [to develop the field of business & human rights] is companies’ adoption and implementation of industry-specific human rights standards and metrics. The working draft fails to contemplate, much less advance, this essential next step... [I]ndividual assurances from some companies that they are applying internal due diligence processes simply don’t go far enough. The test...is whether they are abiding by concrete standards for the specific human rights or environmental issues in their respective industries.

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