Organizations propose in OAS creation of accountability guidelines for financial institutions and state-run companies

Durante vistoria, fiscais do Ministério Público do Trabalho identificam trabalhadores em condição análoga à escravidão Durante vistoria, fiscais do Ministério Público do Trabalho identificam trabalhadores em condição análoga à escravidão

Conectas and the Colombian organization Dejusticia submitted a series of recommendations to the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights and its Special Rapporteurship on Economic, Social, Cultural, and Environmental Rights at a hearing on Friday, March 2, in Bogotá. The contributions are designed to support the two bodies in the preparation of regional guidelines on business and human rights.

Among the main points raised by the organizations are monitoring and accountability of development banks, such as the BNDES (Brazilian Development Bank), for violations associated with the projects they finance, in particular mining and infrastructure projects. In these cases, the impacts may be indirect but, given the scale of the developments, they can have a significant effect on the lives of local communities. In spite of this, domestic legal systems do not provide clarity on the level of responsibility of these institutions.

In the document submitted to the two bodies, the organizations draw attention to the weakness of the non-judicial redress mechanisms and they argue that affected communities should have a meaningful participation in the development of these mechanisms. It also makes suggestions on how local governments should adopt protocols and guidelines to hold companies accountable and enable the victims to have access to justice.

“The reflections and proposals that were presented are intended to contribute to the process of creating regional guidelines on business and human rights, based on the experience of the two organizations with the flaws in implementing the UN formulated Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights,” said Caio Borges, coordinator of the Development and Socioenvironmental Rights program at Conectas. “It is very important to bring the discussion within the scope of the OAS, since the regional system has a strong tradition of reaffirming the obligations of States when it comes to violations committed by companies, in accordance with the American Convention on Human Rights, and the need to adapt the rules to the local context and local realities”.

Read the document submitted to the IACHR in full

Although the Guiding Principles proposed by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights are not legally binding, the document submitted by the organizations suggests using a variety of tools, both voluntary and compulsory, as the most effective means of holding companies accountable and mitigating the damage caused by them.

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