Business and Human Rights

Businesses activities are very important for the development of societies and individuals and for the realisation of several of their rights, including a decent work, adequate standards of living, and the right to health.

However, in many parts of the world, in particular where the rule of law and judicial and political institutions are weak, unregulated business activities and unaccountable businesses can have negative impacts on human rights, such as human rights abuses, which in some cases may amount to criminal offences.

Enhancing the protection of human rights

The ICJ works to enhance the protection of all human rights of people that face the direct consequences of unchecked business activities in their country. It does so

  • By promoting national and international law, setting standards of acceptable business behaviour; and
  • By supporting the establishment of accessible justice and accountability mechanisms.

Building on the growing consensus on asserting human rights responsibilities of enterprises and existing obligations of States to protect against human rights abuses by business, the ICJ works to ensure that companies meet their obligations, guarantee justice and remedies for victims of corporate abuse and develop legal standards at the national and international level.

Working at two levels

To achieve those aims, the ICJ works at two level:

  • The clarification, or development, of international human rights standards applicable to business and governments in relation to business activity; and
  • The creation, or development, of appropriate mechanisms to afford effective redress to those whose rights have been infringed by harmful business conduct

ICJ initiative on effective operational-level grievance mechanisms for business related rights abuses

This ICJ project will analyse a series of issues affecting the effectiveness of operational-level grievance mechanisms for business related rights abuses and provide guidance addressed to legal practitioners and human rights defenders working on this field.

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