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Accountability and Remedy Project II: Enhancing effectiveness of State-based non-judicial mechanisms in cases of business-related human rights abuses

On 30 June 2016, the Human Rights Council adopted a resolution by consensus which welcomed OHCHR’s work on improving accountability and access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse, noting “with appreciation” the report and requesting OHCHR to continue its work in this field and specifically, to:

“identify and analyse lessons learned, best practices, challenges and possibilities to improve the effectiveness of State-based non-judicial mechanisms that are relevant for the respect by business enterprises for human rights, including in a cross-border context, and to submit a report thereon to be considered by the Council at its thirty-eighth session” (OP 13).

An initial scoping paper marking the beginning of OHCHR’s work in response to this mandate was published in February 2017, including an outline for a twelve month programme of work. 

Following this, a sector study looking at the types of adverse human rights impacts arising in high risk sectors was published in May 2017. It looks at the use of State-based NJMs in these sectors and the factors that may currently be driving accountability and remedy choices by affected individuals and communities and the factors that may be deterring or preventing use of State-based NJMs to resolve complaints and disputes arising from these adverse human rights impacts.

An Open Process Questionnaire was launched in June 2017 asking for input from different stakeholders on experiences with State-based non-judicial mechanisms. At the same time a focus jurisdiction exercise was conducted with the help of researchers from about 20 jurisdictions globally and the OHCHR consulted with different NJMs on their functions and experiences. This process was concluded on 15 September 2017. The information gathered during this information-gathering phase will feed into the final report of the project. 

A discussion paper presenting the outcomes of Phase 2 of the project was published in November 2017 and will be presented at the UN Forum on Business and Human Rights at the end of November 2017. The discussion paper is the result of information gathering activities conducted as part of Phase 2 of ARP II and provides:

-  Key observations arising from those information-gathering exercises relating to the current “state of play” with respect to the use of State-based NJMs as a means of improving access to remedy in cases arising from adverse human rights impacts that are business-related;

- Observations relating to a number of legal, structural, practical and policy challenges identified in the course of research;

- Illustrative examples, drawn from the information-gathering exercises conducted to date, of practical ways that elements of the effectiveness criteria set out in Guiding Principle 31 of the UN Guiding Principles can be responded to in practice; and

-  Preliminary ideas as to key elements to be addressed in the OHCHR’s report to the thirty-eighth session of the Human Rights Council (June 2018).

Based on research and consultation exercises conducted to date OHCHR prepared a consultation draft with a set of policy objectives and elements of good State practice for the Annex of the final report of the project. OHCHR invited States and other relevant stakeholders to provide comments on the consultation draft by 26 February 2018.

In February 2018, the OHCHR organized a consultation with States, encouraging participation of practitioners from State-based NJMs within State jurisdiction. The aim of the consultation was to receive comments and feedback on the policy objectives in the consultation draft. This feedback, in addition to oral and written comments received will feed into the final report of the project. A summary report from the consultation can be found in the resources below and here.

The final report for phase two of the Accountability and Remedy Project was presented at the Human Rights Council in its thirty-eight session in June 2018, accompanied by an addendum with explanatory notes for the report. 

For questions or comments relating to the Accountability and Remedy Project II, please contact OHCHR at business-access2remedy[at]ohchr.org


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