Source: Marquise Kamanke
Trade Policy Division, Department of Commerce, Government of India*
*The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author.
The Vedanta case and the Nigeria Shell case are some of the most celebrated cases where victims have exercised their right of access to remedy by approaching the appropriate forum to prevent, investigate, punish and redress business-related human rights abuses such as causing injuries, death, environmental damages, etc. The right of victims to have access to remedy is one of the central notions for establishing corporate accountability and is also widely acknowledged under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. The open-ended UN intergovernmental working group (OEIGWG) that is entrusted with the task to elaborate an international legally binding instrument on Business and Human Rights, released a Second Revised Draft legally binding instrument on business activities and human rights on 6th August 2020 (Second Revised Draft). The Second Revised Draft has incorporated the concept of ‘access to remedy’ under its several operative clauses laying down substantial and procedural requirements for State Parties and corporations to ensure effective access to remedy for victims.
Source: Rock Cohen, Flickr
University of Groningen
Following the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), human rights due diligence (HRDD) was established as the preeminent standard by which companies approach adverse human rights impacts resulting from their activities. Until recently companies that carry out HRDD have done so voluntarily against the backdrop of non-legal, incentive-based initiatives which promote HRDD. Now, there is a growing push towards legal measures, at various levels, to make HRDD mandatory. Mandatory due diligence (mHRDD) refers to a legal mechanism which imposes a “legal standard of care” where businesses would be legally mandated to take reasonable action [due diligence] to prevent adverse impacts on human rights and the environment.