Business and Human Rights
The Center for International Law and Policy’s focus on Business and Human Rights enables students to engage in the current global effort to hold corporations accountable for activities that negatively impact human rights. CILP participates in the global dialogue spearheaded by Professor John Ruggie, who as special representative to the United Nations General Secretary drafted the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), which were unanimously approved by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011.
The “Ruggie Principles” have created an international framework that has galvanized civil society, governments, and companies to explore how to assure that human rights norms are better respected in business practices. Significantly, this movement enjoys support from numerous multinational companies, many of which have begun to integrate compliance mechanisms into their everyday operations.
To promote UNGPs and discuss their implementation, the UN created a working group that convened its first annual forum in December 2012. Over 1,000 participants attended, including governments and business representatives. CILP attended the 2013 meeting and plans to continue to be an active participant in this discussion.
CILP contributes to the ongoing development of the UNGPs by offering assistance at the level of civil society and at the United Nations. Recent Business and Human Rights projects include:
- CILP was invited by invited by the International Corporate Accountability Roundtable and EarthRights International to research domestic legal mechanisms for holding businesses accountable for human rights violations. In 2014, student teams researched and wrote memos on Vermont torts law as a part of this project.
- In June 2014, CILP collaborated with the Center for Global Justice at the University of Utah College of Law to submit a commentary on the Office of the High Commissioner for Human Rights Study of Domestic Law Remedies: Corporate Liability for Gross Human Rights Abuses.