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Access to Remedy and Corporate Accountability Pathways in Asia Pacific

13:30-15:00 (Bangkok time, GMT+7), 1 June 2021

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Organised by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights

Background

The UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) envisage three types of mechanisms to provide access to effective remedy in business-related human rights abuses: state-based judicial mechanisms, state-based non-judicial grievance mechanisms, and non-state-based grievance mechanisms. Despite these possibilities, and recommendations from the OHCHR’s Accountability and Remedy Project, to create a robust eco-system of justice delivery, the victims of business-related human rights abuses are often struggling to hold accountable the relevant state and/or non-state actors. The Asia Pacific region is no exception to this global situation, though some states have either adopted or in the process developing a national action plan on business and human rights.

Session Description

In recent years, individuals and communities affected by business-related human rights abuses in Asia Pacific have used various judicial and non-judicial pathways to secure access to effective remedy and corporate accountability. They have been assisted by lawyers and/or civil society organisations (CSOs) in this quest. This session will examine these diverse pathways tried so far. Using several case studies from across the region, the panellists will consider challenges faced, any remedies obtained, and reform options needed to strengthen access to effective remedy.

Session Objectives

The key objectives of this session are to: 
 

  • Discuss the role played by courts, tribunals, national human rights institutions and National Contact Points in access to remedy in business-related human rights abuses. 

  • Examine the continued barriers faced by affected rightsholders in holding businesses accountable. 

  • Explore entry points to improve access to effective remedy in Asia Pacific, especially in cases with a transnational dimension.

Questions

Panelists will reflect on the following questions:
 

  • What pathways have been tried in Asia Pacific in recent years to seek access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses? Has it been possible to seek actual remedy in some cases? 

  • What are the main barriers experienced and how can these be overcome? How to build necessary political will to introduce necessary law and policy reforms? 

  • What is the role of lawyers and CSOs in assisting affected rightsholders in holding companies accountable for human rights abuses?   

  • How has the COVID-19 pandemic impacted the landscape of access to remedy in business-related human rights abuses?

Contact
For questions, please contact unrbhrforum@undp.org