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The Remedy Blueprint
Bridging Gaps and Accelerating Access

24-27 September 2024  |  Bangkok, Thailand

Key Objectives

  1. Assess progress and challenges in promoting access to remedy in Asia and the Pacific, and reflect on lessons learned

  2. Outline the role and importance of international frameworks, domestic legislation, sector-specific approaches and complementary mechanisms in facilitating access to remedy

  3. Stimulate innovation and foster multi-stakeholder dialogue and peer-to-peer learning to promote access to effective remedy

Context

The right to effective remedy is an internationally recognized human right, enshrined in international and regional human rights instruments. In the Asia-Pacific region, effective access to remedy for business-related human rights violations remains a significant challenge. While on the one hand, there have been many years of advocacy and engagement to ensure access to remedy through policy and regulatory developments, as well as through operational-level grievance mechanisms, such efforts have been largely insufficient.

 

These challenges are compounded by multifaceted development challenges facing the region – from the triple planetary crisis of climate change, pollution, and biodiversity and nature loss to widening inequalities and deepening polarization, as well as the shrinking space for participation and dialogue. Widespread discrimination continues to prevent marginalized populations from accessing justice and obtaining redress for grievances. Women, children and young people, indigenous peoples, persons with disabilities, migrant workers and displaced persons, among others, are some of the rights holders often disproportionately affected by business-related human rights violations, and often the least able to access remedy.

To ensure access to remedy, the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) acknowledge that greater access to effective judicial mechanisms is required, along with non-judicial mechanisms as an essential complement and supplement. However, “many – if not most – of the barriers in accessing both judicial and non-judicial mechanisms identified in the Guiding Principles still largely remain,”(1) including legal, procedural, institutional, socioeconomic, psychological and safety barriers.

Addressing the multifaceted nature of access to remedy requires transformative changes. Since access to remedy cannot be decontextualized from the strength of the rule of law in a country, States should develop a full, smart mix of measures with emphasis on adopting enforceable human rights protections, strengthening policy coherence, and addressing the State-business nexus to counter power imbalances. (2)

The lack of implementation of Pillar III of the UNGPs, which deals with access to remedy, represents not only represent a compliance gap but also missed opportunities for businesses to manage risks and unlock new avenues for growth. Businesses, including both companies and financial institutions, should develop operational-level grievance mechanisms and expand related initiatives in scope, scale and effectiveness. Proactively remediating impacts aligns with human rights responsibilities and transnational regulatory demands and risks, while also building a foundation of trust and engagement with workers, local communities and environmental and human rights defenders. This, in turn, opens opportunities for innovation, collaboration and partnerships, strengthening business competitiveness in an increasingly volatile and uncertain world.

In this regard, there is a need to explore practical and innovative approaches to remedy and enhance the effectiveness of grievance mechanisms to ensure they are contextually appropriate, relevant to specific business sectors and designed with input from rights holders.

About the 6th UN Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum

The 2024 UN RBHR Forum will convene stakeholders to explore what solutions are still needed to realize access to effective remedy and justice in Asia and the Pacific. The Forum will focus on the following three parallel tracks:  

  • Domestic remedy. Access to effective remedy at the national level is crucial to promote the rule of law and corporate accountability. Domestic mechanisms are essential for States and businesses in implementing their respective obligations and responsibilities under international human rights law and the UNGPs. They can also help countries enhance their international reputation as an attractive place to do business , which may shun countries with high levels of political, economic, legal, financial, social or environmental risks. Additionally, domestic remedial mechanisms can make it easier for affected individuals and communities to access justice.

  • Transnational remedy. Numerous actors are using transnational initiatives to bridge traditional remedy borders, which businesses have historically sought to exploit. Regulators across the world are requiring businesses to respect human rights regulations with extraterritorial impact, which include mechanisms to facilitate access to remedy. For example, the EU’s long-anticipated Corporate Sustainability Due Diligence Directive (CSDDD) has the potential to reshape business practices in Asia and the Pacific. Neither businesses nor governments can afford to overlook the risks and opportunities which such initiatives introduce. 

  • Complementary strategies to facilitate access to remedy. Rights holders, human rights defenders, CSOs and others have a range of complementary strategies at their disposal to bring attention to adverse human rights impacts. Public opinion has often been used to drive changes in business practices, including through consumer boycotts and civil society advocacy campaigns. Other innovative ways to promote and facilitate access to remedy include shareholder activism, investor stewardship and investigative journalism. By utilizing such strategies in tandem with grievance mechanisms, the BHR community can realize access to remedy at greater scale and speed. 

 

The Forum will also explore sector-specific solutions. Asia and the Pacific is home to a vast range of business industries, each with its own set of unique challenges and opportunities. The Forum will enable participants to examine industries such as manufacturing (e.g., electronics, automotive, garments and textiles), agriculture, technology, energy and extractives. This presents an opportunity for businesses to devise or advocate for tailor-made remediation strategies, which are at the core of sustainable business models. The 2024 Forum will place significant emphasis on peer-learning and training opportunities catered toward stakeholder groups, including businesses, governments, national human rights institutions and civil society actors.  

 

The Forum is co-organized by the International Labour Organization (ILO), International Organization for Migration (IOM), Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights (OHCHR), United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF), United Nations Development Programme (UNDP), United Nations Entity for Gender Equality and the Empowerment of Women (UN Women), United Nations Environmental Programme (UNEP), and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (UNWG). 

The Forum is organized with support from the Government of Sweden, the European Union, and the Government of Japan, including through the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare.

Forum Objectives

The Forum aims to:  

  • Assess progress and challenges in promoting access to remedy in Asia and the Pacific, and reflect on lessons learned

  • Outline the role and importance of international frameworks, domestic legislation, sector-specific approaches and complementary mechanisms in facilitating access to remedy

  • Stimulate innovation and foster multi-stakeholder dialogue and peer-to-peer learning to promote access to effective remedy

Venue

The Forum will be held in person at the United Nations Conference Centre in Bangkok, Thailand, and will be live-streamed online. 

Dates

The Forum will be held on 24-27 September 2024.  

Organize a Session
 

Those interested in organizing a session should complete the submission form by 20 June 2024.  

 

Proposals linked to remedy are strongly encouraged, though there will also be limited space to discuss other relevant topics. Groups submitting proposals may be asked to collaborate. The Forum co-organizers will provide session organizers with facilities (including presentation space and IT support) and guide them on how to successfully prepare. Session organizers will be responsible for all logistics pertaining to their session, including concept note development, session delivery, coordination with speakers and managing their sessions on Zoom.

For more information, visit the Call for Proposals page.  

Queries

For general queries, please reach out to the Forum Secretariat at unrbhrforum@undp.org.

For queries related to sessions and speakers, please contact Harpreet Kaur, Business and Human Rights Specialist, UNDP (harpreet.kaur@undp.org), and copying Kevin Lehmann, Business and Human Rights Analyst, UNDP (kevin.lehmann@undp.org), with a copy to the Forum Secretariat (unrbhrforum@undp.org)

References

1  UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (2021), Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights at 10: Taking stock of the first decade. See: https://www.ohchr.org/sites/default/files/Documents/Issues/Business/UNGPs10/Stocktaking-reader-friendly.pdf.

2  UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights (2017), A/72/162: Report on access to effective remedy for business-related human rights abuses. See: https://www.ohchr.org/en/documents/thematic-reports/a72162-report-access-effective-remedy-business-related-human-rights.

References
Venue and Date
Organize a Session
Context
About the 6th UN RBHR
Forum Objectives
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