The HELP Business and Human Rights Course will be launched in the United Kingdom at a high level launch event on the 29th September in conjunction with Doughty Street Chambers and Mazars.
The unanimous adoption by the UN Human Rights Council in 2011 of the United Nations Guiding Principles Framework has led to significant developments and increased interest in the field of business and human rights. The Council of Europe has undertaken concrete action in regard to this since 2011 when the Parliamentary Assembly adopted Resolution 1757 and Recommendation 1936 on human rights and business. The CoE continues to work at the forefront of the field through the Drafting Group on Human Rights and Business (CDDH-CORP) and the draft Recommendation of the Committee of Ministers to member states on human rights and business. In the United Kingdom the Joint Select Committee on Human Rights is currently considering the progress made by the Government in implementing the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights, by means of the National Action Plan published in 2013 and revised in May 2016.
HELP have recognised the need for lawyers, prosecutors and judges to receive the highest level of up to date training on business and human rights issues in order to competently deal with the anticipated significant increase of cases in this field. This dynamic environment provides the context for the HELP Business and Human Rights Course. Although the Course is principally concerned with the ECHR, the Course has been constructed around the “three-pillar” UN Framework and UNGPs. The Framework and the UNGPs provide the most widely accepted heuristic for addressing the variety of complex legal and policy issues relevant to business and human rights. Session 3 thus focuses on the State Duty to Protect Human Rights (Pillar I); Session 4 considers the Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights (Pillar II); and Session 5 addresses the right to remedy for business-related human rights abuses (Pillar III). Session 6 considers the issue of extraterritoriality as a cross-cutting issue.
Throughout, the aim is to introduce participants both to the existing international legal framework relevant to business and human rights, which provides the point of departure for current discussions amongst governments, jurists, human rights advocates and businesses, as well as presenting the main strands of current debates that have potential to influence the future evolution of the field.