Democratizing the Global Business and Human Rights Project by Catalyzing Strategic Litigation from the Bottom Up
Larry Catá Backer
Pennsylvania State University, Penn State Law
Michigan State University - College of Education
University of Tokyo
Communication Arts & Sciences; Pennsylvania State University - School of International Affairs
With the June 2011 endorsement of the U.N. Guiding Principles for Business and Human Rights (GP) by the U.N. Human Rights Council, the international community entered a new phase in the approach to the important work of developing global norms for economic activity with human rights impacts, irrespective of the states in which these occur. But the business and human rights project still privileges the state and the elite communities of enterprises, lawyers, and civil society organizations that form the networks of norm creation and operationalization on which the objects of human rights discourse are dependent. To effectively implement the GP requires an empowerment of all stakeholders down the supply and value chain. This empowerment must naturalize the substantive norms embedded in the GP into the cultures of business activity shared by all stakeholders. This chapter, then, elaborates our initial framework for a three-phase approach for the Democratizing Human Rights/Catalyzing Strategic Litigation (DHR/CSL) initiative, which employs an updated knowledge management strategy that begins with knowledge production centered on focused toolkits, followed by the education/knowledge transmission phase that involves deployment of knowledge product, such as toolkits, through student-centered training, education, and technical assistance; finally, the project will move towards the operationalization phase where large networks of stakeholders can both effectively and sustainably enforce business due diligence through the implementation of litigation/complaint strategies. The combination of knowledge creation, education/technical assistance, and targeted litigation/complaint strategies may serve to overcome the problem of evolving the current development of business and human rights project from a bauble for the use of global elites and as an instrumental project to protect the privilege of states to a mechanism of asserting popular power through the operation of markets and the invocation of the international procedures which states themselves are bound to honor.
Number of Pages in PDF File: 34
Keywords: business due diligence, corporate social responsibility, education, human rights, international law, knowledge management, knowledge spiral cluster, nonprofit organizations, OECD, strategic litigation, Guiding Principles Business and Human Rights, Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, NGO
JEL Classification: D63, D8, F53, I2, J8, K33, K41, L17, L3, M14
Date posted: September 17, 2013 ; Last revised: February 13, 2015
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