The ‘Mind the Gap’ project, coordinated by SOMO, is a four-year project. With this project we want to increase respect for human rights and effective access to justice and remedy for individuals and communities whose lives and livelihoods are affected by multinational corporations. The Brazilian organisation Conectas Human Rights is one of the partner organisations joining the project. Julia Cortez da Cunha Cruz, lawyer at Conectas, will explain more about their role in it. For example, at community level, they will research conflicts related to the coffee supply chain in Brazil for Mind the Gap.
Conectas Human Rights is part of a global movement that carries on the fight for equal rights. Connected via a broad network of partners, spread across Brazil and around the world, Conectas participates in various decision-making debates that advance the path of human rights from the Global South perspective. “Conectas works to secure and extend the rights of all, especially the most vulnerable. We propose solutions, avert setbacks, and denounce violations to create transformations”, explains Cortez da Cunha Cruz.
Why Conectas is joining Mind the Gap
Cortez da Cunha Cruz explains why Conectas is joining Mind the Gap: “The innovative approach used by the Mind the Gap project is particularly aligned with Conectas’ objectives and working methods. Conectas works together with victims of human rights violations, communities impacted by multinational enterprises, social movements, and local organisations. The Mind the Gap Project will enable us to reflect on the accumulated knowledge derived from these experiences – and to consciously expand this knowledge through research. This research will then form the basis for action that is specifically tailored to ensure that communities have access to remedy. The project thus contributes to and builds upon Conectas’ efforts towards the protection of human rights from violations committed by multinational corporations.”
Mind the Gap objectives are:
1) to expose corporate strategies for avoiding responsibility or being held accountable for human rights violations and
2) to strengthen civil society counter- strategies for claiming and defending human rights – including direct dialogue, use of judicial and non-judicial grievance mechanisms, public campaigns, non-violent resistance and divestment.
Developing a counter-strategy for abuses in the Brazilian coffee supply chain
At the community level, Conectas will research conflicts related to the coffee supply chain in Brazil. In collaboration with partners from the Mind the Gap Project and in partnership with communities in the states of Minas Gerais and Bahia, Conectas will document the human rights violations suffered by people producing coffee that multinational corporations sell throughout the world.
“We will also conduct in-depth research to identify and analyse the governance gaps that enable these violations to occur and employ a counter-strategy with the aim of preventing future violations and ensuring victims have proper access to remedy.” After analysing governance gaps related to Brazilian coffee supply chains, Conectas will further expand the research, aiming to identify barriers to justice that are relevant nationally. “We will map the possibilities and limitations for holding corporations accountable for their human rights impacts. This mapping will draw upon experience at the community level, but also expand on it through desk research, public consultations and expert meetings. We will then use this information to develop a counter-strategy that fosters corporate accountability in Brazil.”
Research strategies of Brazilian multinationals operating abroad
Conectas will also play a role in Mind the Gap’s international component.
“We will research strategies of Brazilian multinationals operating abroad, focusing on four case studies on the infrastructure sector. This research will draw upon Conectas’ previous work with the Brazilian National Development Bank, which has financed projects linked to human rights violations in Latin America and Africa. This analysis will inform the collaborative effort by Mind the Gap partners for an international analysis and to strengthen civil society counter-strategies to overcome corporate impunity at the global level.”
Results to achieve
Conectas aims to foster corporate accountability for human rights violations in the local, national, and international spheres. Locally, the objective is to provide remedy for victims of human rights violations at coffee farms in Brazil, as well as to adopt a strategy that prevents future violations.
“Nationally, we aim to trigger a policy process that overcomes systemic barriers to justice for victims of corporate abuse, as well as to foster accountability for human rights violations. Similarly, we also aim to start a policy process that prevents violations committed by Brazilian companies operating abroad.”
Are you interested in participating in ‘Mind the Gap’? Contact Virginia Sandjojo.