One of the key ongoing challenges in the business and human rights field is to provide effective remedies to victims of corporate human rights abuses. This challenge is being grappled with in several settings – from litigating about the scope of the Alien Tort Statute, to developing a direct duty of care principle under tort law, introducing mandatory human rights due diligence, providing states guidance to remove barriers in access to judicial remedies, improving efficacy of non-judicial and operational-level mechanisms, and negotiating an international legally binding instrument.
Where are the voices of victims in these efforts? Building on the recent report of the UN Working Group on Business and Rights, this talk will highlight why it is critical that rights holders and their sufferings are at the heart of the entire remedial process. The talk will also unpack some of the elements of a victim-centric approach to seeking effective remedies for business-related human rights abuses.
Surya Deva is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong, and the current Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Deva’s primary research interests lie in Business and Human Rights, India-China Constitutional Law, and Sustainable Development. He has published extensively in these areas, and has advised the UN/EU bodies, states, multinational corporations and civil society organisations on matters related to business and human rights. His books include Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours (co-editor with David Bilchitz) (CUP, 2017); Socio-Economic Rights in Emerging Free Markets: Comparative Insights from India and China (editor) (Routledge, 2015); Human Rights Obligations of Business: Beyond the Corporate Responsibility to Respect? (co-editor with David Bilchitz) (CUP, 2013); and Regulating Corporate Human Rights Violations: Humanizing Business (Routledge, 2012). Prof Deva has also prepared reports for the International Commission of Jurists (ICJ) and the Ethical Trading Initiative (ETI). He is one of the founding Editors-in-Chief of the Business and Human Rights Journal (CUP), and sits on the Editorial/Advisory Board of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, and the Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law.