Case story

What is Remedy for Corporate Human Rights Abuses? Listening to Community Voices: A Field Report

Earlier this year, ACCESS partnered with Columbia University's School of International and Public Affairs (SIPA) in a student project to conduct research in communities affected by company-community conflict. 

Under the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs), non-judicial grievance mechanisms (NJGMs) must provide “effective remedy” for corporate human rights violations. What this means is subject to substantial debate. Is it enough that aggrieved parties accept a mediated agreement?
 
Largely absent from the understanding of remedy in company-community mediations have been the voices of aggrieved parties themselves. The report features interviews with community members conducted in two contexts – a land case and a water case – where communities have reached an agreement with a company that had allegedly harmed or contributed to harm against them.  It aims to provide a platform for community members to be heard regarding what remedy means to them and whether it was achieved.
 
The report begins with the stories told by the community members who were interviewed at each site. The students then draw insights across the two contexts on what the affected people themselves consider effective remedy. Finally, they consider the stories of the community members interviewed in terms of the implications for existing standards for effective remedy of corporate harm under Principle 31 of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs):  The Effectiveness Criteria for Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanisms. The report concludes with recommendations for further research.

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