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Oil polution in Nigeria, asbetos in the US, forced evictions in Zimbabwe: victims of business related human right abuses often face major barriers when they try to get access to remedy. Now there is a unique opportunity to improve prevention of corporate abuse, and to ensure that victims of corporate abuse have adequate access to justice: the UN binding Treaty on Business and Human Rights.

In June 2014, a ground-breaking resolution was adopted by the Human Rights Council that established an Inter-Governmental Working Group (IGWG) to develop an ‘international legally binding instrument on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights’.

SOMO is one of the many NGO’s following the discussions in Geneva and works together with partner organisations advocates for a treaty that will effectively contribute to access to justice and remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuses.

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Rights, Remedy and Accountability

Corporations have a responsibility to respect human rights wherever they are active. Yet business-related human rights and environmental abuses remain all too common. Across the globe, people face enormous challenges in securing respect for their rights and receiving remedy for corporate-related abuses.

Strong corporate accountability frameworks

SOMO seeks to address the global governance gaps that allow multinational corporations to operate with impunity. We push for strong corporate accountability frameworks that include effective grievance mechanisms. We monitor the implementation of international normative frameworks, including the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights and the Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development (OECD) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, to address the conduct of multinational enterprises in relation to human rights and the environment.

Support in filing complaints

We specialise on the use of non-judicial grievance mechanisms for addressing human rights, environmental, and social abuses. Victims of corporate misconduct are often confronted with weak governance, inadequate legal frameworks, and poor implementation of laws and regulations. In this context, non-judicial grievance mechanisms can offer a means of accessing remedy, particularly for people living in areas where the rule of law is weak or non-existent.

We support workers, communities, individuals, and civil society organisations in filing complaints using mechanisms of the OECD Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises and international financial institutions. Based on our experience with supporting complainants who seek access to remedy, SOMO advocates for improving the accessibility, effectiveness, and consistency of grievance mechanisms at the (international) policy level.

Corporations have a responsibility to respect human rights wherever they are active. Yet business-related human rights and environmental abuses remain all too common. Across the globe, people face enormous challenges in securing respect for their rights and receiving remedy for corporate-related abuses.

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