Ethical Performance
inside intelligence for responsible business


Core backs idea of state intervention

January 2011

The state should intervene to resolve human rights disputes between people and corporations, and should fill other gaps in existing frameworks, says a submission to the United Nations Secretary-General's special representative on business and human Rights.

The UK-based Core Coalition has said governments should go beyond simply relying on the courts and should introduce their own 'non-judicial mechanisms' as more accessible ways to resolve disputes.

The submission says the present system, in which court action is the primary remedial route for complainants, rarely produces results and is generally unavailable to most people involved in disputes with companies. 'Accessing the courts is notoriously difficult, especially for people who are poor, vulnerable or who live in remote areas,' says Core, which is an alliance of NGOs.

It adds that other less formal avenues for resolving disputes - such as the OECD Guidelines process - are over-reliant on the co-operation of companies and are rarely legally enforceable.

Core therefore suggests the state should take responsibility for setting up non-judicial mechanisms that have the power to enforce 'financial penalties, material remediation, recognition and restoration of rights, or obtaining binding commitments as regards future performance'. Such mechanisms should be led by a board that includes business, NGOs and trade union representatives.

Core's submission is one of many being filed with the special representative, John Ruggie, who is looking at how companies can be held to account for alleged human rights misdemeanours.

Core Coalition | Global | Human rights

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