[New Parts III and IV added. Probably one more part on its way to finish it up.]
“Business & Human Rights” (BHR) is an international legal and political framework, arising from the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights(UNGPs), that just in the last few years has revolutionized how the world’s leading multinational corporations are talking about and engaging with human rights. As part of BHR, states are drafting National Action Plans, companies are drafting Human Rights Policies and conducting Human Rights Due Diligence (of both their own conduct and the conduct of companies in their supply chains), and civil society groups are both celebrating these efforts and scrutinizing the results.
In this blog series, Aaron Marr Page, a law professor and human rights lawyer with over a decade of on-the-ground experience with indigenous and other affected communities around the world, takes an appreciative but critical tour of core BHR concepts, debates, practices, and institutions, digging into the mysterious alchemy — the magic “&” — that has so quickly and forcefully brought the business and human rights communities together, and asking important questions about whether and how this bond will endure.
Part I: The BHR Boom Years
Setting aside old animosities creates a dynamic new space; but does it have the tools and fortitude to achieve real results?
Part II: A Pendulum Swing?
As the business community starts using the BHR discourse to reframe what human rights success and progress looks like, some leading BHR voices express concern.
Part III: The Missing Institution
Questions about the almost built-in lack of leadership behind the “Third Pillar” of BHR that was supposed to demand real remedies for human rights victims.
Part IV: The Rules of the Game
Allegations of corporate human rights abuse are raised — and responded to — in an important weekly dialogue that looks like a “level playing field,” but doesn’t always work out that way.
Part V: [Forthcoming]