OHCHR Accountability and Remedy Project II: Enhancing effectiveness of State-based non-judicial mechanisms in cases of business-related human rights abuse

Overview


Council Mandate:
Resolution 32/10 (para. 7)
Focus of the report:
Effectiveness of State-based non-judicial grievance mechanisms, including but not limited to:
- OECD National Contact Points
- National human rights institutions
- Labour inspectorates
- Employment tribunals
- Consumer protection bodies
- Environmental tribunals
- Privacy and data protection bodies
- Public health and safety bodies
- Professional standards bodies
Council Response:
Resolution 38/13 (paras. 1, 4, 8 - 11)

Background

The OHCHR Accountability and Remedy Project (ARP) began in 2014 with the aim of delivering credible and workable recommendations for enhancing accountability and access to remedy in cases of business-related human rights abuse (background on each phase of ARP).

The second phase of the project (ARP II) began in response to a mandate from the Human Rights Council in resolution 32/10 (June 2016) requesting OHCHR:

to identify and analyse lessons learned, best practices, challenges and possibilities to improve the effectiveness of State-based non-judicial mechanisms that are relevant for the respect by business enterprises for human rights, including in a cross-border context, and to submit a report thereon to be considered by the Council at its thirty-eighth session.

Over the course of 2016-2018, and following ARP’s multi-stakeholder, consultative methodology, OHCHR developed numerous papers regarding the role and effectiveness State-based non-judicial mechanisms, including a project scoping paper, sector study, discussion paper, and consultation draft.

At the Human Rights Council’s thirty-eighth session in June 2018, OHCHR presented the ARP II final report and its explanatory addendum (see how to read an ARP report). These documents contain:

  • general observations regarding State-based non-judicial mechanisms (in the report);
  • a series of recommended actions for improving the effectiveness of these mechanisms, drawing upon good-practice lessons uncovered during the two-year project (in the annex of the report);
  • detailed explanations and context for these recommendations (found in the addendum); and
  • a model terms of reference States can use to review the scope, functions and effectiveness of relevant non-judicial mechanisms (found in the addendum).

Follow-up work on ARP II is currently being conducted through the fourth phase of the project (ARP IV).

For any questions or comments regarding the ARP II work, please contact OHCHR-business-access2remedy@un.org.

Summary

The Guiding Principles recognize that while effective judicial mechanisms are “at the core of ensuring access to remedy,” administrative, legislative, and other non-judicial mechanisms play an essential role in complementing and supplementing judicial mechanisms.  However, in many cases these mechanisms are not yet fulfilling the role envisaged for them in the UNGPs.

State-based non-judicial mechanisms may take many different forms and can be found at all levels of government (local, regional, and national). There is great diversity in their mandates, originating regimes, sources of authority, functions, and powers.

Haphazard legal and institutional development in some jurisdictions has led to unevenness and gaps in the extent to which different human rights are protected through these mechanisms. Particularly in a serious or complex case, it can be difficult to identify a mechanism (or combination of mechanisms) with a sufficiently broad mandate to address the case in its entirety; responses can therefore be fragmented, and remedial outcomes may not meet international standards.

There is a need for a greater understanding of (1) the importance of State-based non-judicial mechanisms in meeting States’ duty to protect, and (2) the contribution of such mechanisms as part of a comprehensive State-based accountability and remedy system.

The recommendation actions found in the annex of the ARP II report focus on the steps that States can take to improve the effectiveness of State-based non-judicial mechanisms, at both the systemic and individual levels.

Documents

Events, Meetings, Etc.

This section includes select events and other types of meetings in which OHCHR took part, and which can be made public. This list is not exhaustive, nor is it representative of the geographic reach of the project, which was global in nature (see ARP II Discussion Paper, pp. 7-8, 27-30 for details on the ARP II methodology).

OHCHR is actively seeking to participate in events related to accountability and access to remedy for business-related human rights abuse. If you would like to notify the ARP team of, or invite us to, relevant events, or propose organizing an event with us, please contact OHCHR-business-access2remedy@un.org.

Event

Date

Place

Additional information

OHCHR Multi-Stakeholder Expert Meeting

28-29 March 2018

Switzerland

 

OHCHR Consultation with States

22-23 February 2018

Switzerland

 

Session at the 2017 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

November 2017

Switzerland

Webinar on business perspectives on the role of State-based NJMs

12 September 2017

Virtual

 

OHCHR Multi-Stakeholder Expert Meeting

19-20 January 2017

Switzerland

 

Session at the 2016 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights

November 2016

Switzerland

 


Questionnaires

The following questionnaires were made available to solicit input into the ARP II report.

Phases of the Accountability and Remedy Project

For background on the greater Accountability and Remedy Project, consult the ARP background page. For information on specific phases:

ARP Phase

Major Outputs

ARP I: Enhancing the effectiveness of judicial mechanisms

ARP II: Enhancing the effectiveness of State-based non-judicial mechanisms

ARP III: Enhancing the effectiveness of non-State-based grievance mechanisms

ARP IV: Enhancing the accessibility, dissemination and implementation of ARP findings

  • Ongoing