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Human Rights Due Diligence and the Root Causes of Harm in Business Operations : A Textual and Contextual Analysis of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights

Mares, Radu LU (2018) In Northeastern University Law Review 10(1). p.1-71
Abstract
Following John Ruggie’s UN mandate (2005-2011) the notion of human rights due diligence (HRDD) has become widely used by policymakers, corporations, NGOs and professionals. The question is whether this HRDD concept, as developed in the UN Guiding Principles (GPs), adequately addresses the deeper causes of human rights infringements in business operations. This article provides a textual and contextual analysis of the GPs and related documents with a focus on the concepts of mitigation and root causes. The GPs contain provisions that open the door for HRDD to be interpreted for a less demanding result. There are also drafting imperfections. The GPs refer repeatedly to mitigation of impacts which introduces redundancy and ambiguity in an... (More)
Following John Ruggie’s UN mandate (2005-2011) the notion of human rights due diligence (HRDD) has become widely used by policymakers, corporations, NGOs and professionals. The question is whether this HRDD concept, as developed in the UN Guiding Principles (GPs), adequately addresses the deeper causes of human rights infringements in business operations. This article provides a textual and contextual analysis of the GPs and related documents with a focus on the concepts of mitigation and root causes. The GPs contain provisions that open the door for HRDD to be interpreted for a less demanding result. There are also drafting imperfections. The GPs refer repeatedly to mitigation of impacts which introduces redundancy and ambiguity in an instrument prized for its clarity and simplicity. This analysis of the GPs addresses concerns that the GPs propose an overly process-oriented and risk-management approach that leaves business too much flexibility and discretion. A closer look reveals that mitigation in the GPs entails multiple meanings, functions and organizational contexts. A surprisingly multifaceted concept is placed at the center of HRDD. To realize its human rights protection potential, the notion of HRDD must impress with utmost clarity that HRDD cannot be merely about reducing abuses and applying bandaids on symptoms, but should aim for not less than elimination of infringements of human rights from a company’s operations and should address the underlying, deeper causes of abuses. Clarifying mitigation will ensure the internal consistency of the GPs and present HRDD as a rightholder-centered risk management approach suited to the human rights context. (Less)
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author
organization
publishing date
type
Contribution to journal
publication status
published
in
Northeastern University Law Review
volume
10
issue
1
pages
71 pages
ISSN
2333-8725
language
English
LU publication?
yes
id
9e3380bd-168c-40d9-a394-473cef4a961d
date added to LUP
2018-08-06 12:35:17
date last changed
2020-04-14 14:43:11
@article{9e3380bd-168c-40d9-a394-473cef4a961d,
  abstract     = {Following John Ruggie’s UN mandate (2005-2011) the notion of human rights due diligence (HRDD) has become widely used by policymakers, corporations, NGOs and professionals. The question is whether this HRDD concept, as developed in the UN Guiding Principles (GPs), adequately addresses the deeper causes of human rights infringements in business operations. This article provides a textual and contextual analysis of the GPs and related documents with a focus on the concepts of mitigation and root causes. The GPs contain provisions that open the door for HRDD to be interpreted for a less demanding result. There are also drafting imperfections. The GPs refer repeatedly to mitigation of impacts which introduces redundancy and ambiguity in an instrument prized for its clarity and simplicity. This analysis of the GPs addresses concerns that the GPs propose an overly process-oriented and risk-management approach that leaves business too much flexibility and discretion. A closer look reveals that mitigation in the GPs entails multiple meanings, functions and organizational contexts. A surprisingly multifaceted concept is placed at the center of HRDD. To realize its human rights protection potential, the notion of HRDD must impress with utmost clarity that HRDD cannot be merely about reducing abuses and applying bandaids on symptoms, but should aim for not less than elimination of infringements of human rights from a company’s operations and should address the underlying, deeper causes of abuses. Clarifying mitigation will ensure the internal consistency of the GPs and present HRDD as a rightholder-centered risk management approach suited to the human rights context.},
  author       = {Mares, Radu},
  issn         = {2333-8725},
  language     = {eng},
  number       = {1},
  pages        = {1--71},
  series       = {Northeastern University Law Review},
  title        = {Human Rights Due Diligence and the Root Causes of Harm in Business Operations : A Textual and Contextual Analysis of the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights},
  url          = {https://lup.lub.lu.se/search/files/49047261/2018_The_UNGPs_and_the_Root_Causes_of_Infringements.pdf},
  volume       = {10},
  year         = {2018},
}