United Nations Responsible Business and Human Rights Forum, Asia-Pacific
Day 1 | 20 September
Turning Stones to Diamonds: Pressure points to facilitate access to remedy
Access to justice for business-related human rights abuses remains a major challenge in the business and human rights field. Despite explicit calls made by Principle 26 of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and the guidance provided by the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights’ Accountability and Remedy Project, rights holders continue to face significant barriers to effectively access remedies for business-related human rights abuses.
At the same time, it seems that affected rights holders are not making full use of existing, albeit imperfect, grievance mechanisms. They are either not aware of the full menu on the table, lack the capacity to choose the most suitable option(s) in a given set of circumstances, or struggle to navigate through processes of different grievance mechanisms. In addition, affected individuals and communities may not be identifying or employing all available “pressure points” – which may directly or indirectly facilitate access to remedy – against corporate actors.
In short, pressure points are entry points that can trigger action on the part of business leaders to take seriously the concerns of affected rights holders and try to address these concerns in a meaningful manner. Such pressure points include, among others, civil society advocacy, including social media campaigns, shareholder resolutions, strategic litigation, complaints to National Contact Points under the OECD Guidelines, and communication to UN special procedures. These and other pressure points reflect a range of different pathways to facilitate remedy, including formal, informal, national, international, institutional and social.
Against this background, the session aims to discuss how rights holders and others can employ pressure points across Asia-Pacific to facilitate access to remedy.
The key objectives of this session are to:
Identify available pressure points and examine to what extent these strategies have been employed successfully by rights holders;
Highlight how these pressure points can trigger action in cases where rights holders face barriers to access remedies for business-related human rights abuses;
Explore the possibility of combining certain pressure points and the simultaneous use of judicial or non-judicial grievance mechanisms.
Panelists will reflect on the following questions:
Which pressure points are at the disposal of rights holders? How can these pressure points facilitate access to remedy in the context of business-related human rights abuses?
How do these pressure points relate to, interact with or complement existing grievance mechanisms?