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Tuesday, November 30 • 11:50am - 1:00pm
Role of national human rights institutions in facilitating access to remedy: Different pathways

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Role of national human rights institutions in facilitating access to remedy: Different pathways 
  • Organizers: Working Group on Business and Human Rights, as supported by the Global Alliance of National Human Rights Institutions (GANHRI)
As the UNGPs turned 10 in June 2021, the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights took stock of the first decade of implementation in the context of the Working Group’s project ‘Business and human rights: towards a decade of global implementation' (also known as “UNGPs 10+ / Next Decade BHR”). The stocktaking highlighted that the UNGPs have led to significant progress by providing a common framework for all stakeholders in managing business-related human rights risks and impacts, but that considerable gaps remain to effectively prevent and remedy harm caused by business, particularly for those in most vulnerable situations. Meaningful progress over the next 10 years depends on how these gaps are addressed.

Brief description of the session

National human rights institutions (NHRIs) play a critical role in protecting and promoting human rights, including in the business and human rights context. The UN Working Group on Business and Rights in its June 2021 report to the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/47/39/Add.3) articulated different pathways – direct, indirect, and foundational – available for NHRIs to facilitate access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses. The session will try to match the “on paper” recommendations contained in this report with “practice” on the ground, especially in times of challenges posed by COVID-19. In particular, it will focus on NHRIs’ practices regarding collaboration with other judicial and non-judicial remedy mechanisms, cooperation amongst NHRIs in cross-border and transnational cases, and protection of civil society organisations and human rights defenders. The session will also look at the role that UN agencies and/or other organisations such as the GANHRI, regional networks of NHRIs, the UNDP and the OHCHR could play in strengthening the capacity of NHRIs in implementing the recommendations contained in the report.

Key objectives of the session
  • To illustrate – through good practices, measures, and tools – the ways in which NHRIs are already facilitating, or could facilitate, access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses in line with the recommendations of the Working Group;
  • To highlight the challenges and limitations that NHRIs face in meeting facilitating access to remedy in direct, indirect, and foundational ways and explore how those challenges could be overcome; 
  • To discuss the role that various UN agencies and/or other organisations to play in strengthening the capacity of NHRIs in the business and human rights field.

Key questions
  • How are NHRIs facilitating access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses in direct, indirect, and foundational ways?
  • What are the innovative practices adopted by NHRIs to collaborate with other judicial and non-judicial remedy mechanisms, cooperate with peer NHRIs in cross-border and transnational cases, and protect civil society organisations and human rights defenders?
  • What are the main challenges and limitations faced by NHRIs in facilitating access to remedy? How could be these challenges be overcome, especially by actions taken by States and UN agencies?
  • What practical tools have been developed by UN agencies or other organisations such as GANHRI, regional networks of NHRIs, OHCHR and UNDP to strengthen the capacity of NHRIs to fulfil their mandates in relation to business and human rights issues?

Background to the discussion

The important role of NHRIs in promoting the implementation of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) and preventing business-related human rights abuses is widely accepted, as well as their bridging role between stakeholders in promoting transparent, participatory and inclusive national processes. In July 2018, the Human Rights Council (A/HRC/RES/38/13) requested the UN Working Group "to analyse further the role of national human rights institutions in facilitating access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses, and to convene a two-day global consultation on these issues, open to all stakeholders, and to inform the Council by its forty-fourth session as appropriate". In line with this mandate, the Working Group invited NHRIs and other stakeholders to provide input. It also organised, in collaboration with GANHRI, a global consultation in Geneva in October 2019. The UN Human Rights Council (A/HRC/RES 44/15) then further encouraged the UN Working Group “to continue its work on the role of national human rights institutions in promoting business and human rights”, and the Working Group submitted its report to the Human Rights Council in June 2021 on the role of NHRIs in facilitating access to remedy for business-related human rights abuses (A/HRC/47/39/Add.3) in which it reviewed the various direct, indirect and foundational ways of the work of NHRIs. Against this background and in line with the overarching theme of the 10th UN Forum, this session will focus on how NHRIs and other organisations could implement the Working Group’s recommendations in this report. The session will also reflect on the role that NHRI could play in implementing the roadmap proposed by the Working Group as part of “UNGPs 10+” project.

Moderators
avatar for Ms Amina Bouayach

Ms Amina Bouayach

Chairperson, National Human Rights Council of Morocco
Ms. Amina Bouayach is a human rights defender who has been working for international and national NGOs. She is the President of the National Human Rights Council (CNDH) of Morocco since 2018. She served as Vice-President then Secretary General of the International Federation for Human... Read More →

Speakers
avatar for Mr. Augusto Jordán Rodas Andrade

Mr. Augusto Jordán Rodas Andrade

Ombudsman, Ombudsman's Office of Guatemala
Human Rights Ombudsman of Guatemala for the period 2017-2022President of the Ibero-American Federation ofOmbudsman (FIO) for the period 2019-2021PhD student. Universidad Rafael Landivar (Guatemala) and University of the Basque Country/ Euskal Herriko UnibertsitateaSpecialist in Constitutional... Read More →
avatar for Surya Deva

Surya Deva

member, UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights
Mr. Surya Deva is a Professor at the Macquarie Law School, University of Macquarie, Sydney. He researches in the areas of business and human rights, India-China constitutional law, international human rights law, and sustainable development. Deva has published extensively in these... Read More →
avatar for Mr Othman Hashim

Mr Othman Hashim

Chairperson, Human Rights Commission of Malaysia – SUHAKAM
Tan Sri Othman bin Hashim joined the Administrative and Diplomatic Service in 1979 upon graduation and retired as Secretary General of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Malaysia, the most senior office for a career diplomat.He holds a Bachelor of Economics (Hons) from the University... Read More →
avatar for Ms Teresa de Moura Anjinho

Ms Teresa de Moura Anjinho

Deputy Ombudswoman, Ombudsman's Office, Portugal
Teresa Anjinho is graduated in Law at the University of Coimbra in 1997 and Master in Human Rights and Democratisation at the University of Padua, Italy (1998). Deputy Ombudsperson of Portugal since December, 2017, she was Member of Parliament, Secretary of State for Justice of the... Read More →
avatar for Mercy Larbi

Mercy Larbi

Deputy Commissioner, Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice
MS. MERCY LARBI, currently, the Deputy Commissioner of Commission on Human Rights and Administrative Justice (CHRAJ) Ghana was appointed in January 2020. As a Deputy Commissioner, she has oversight over all the mandate areas of the Commission but specifically in charge of Human Rights... Read More →



Tuesday November 30, 2021 11:50am - 1:00pm CET
Virtual Plenary room