note: Shamistha Selvaratnam is a LLM Candidate of the Advanced Masters of
European and International Human Rights Law at Leiden University in the
Netherlands and an intern with the Doing Business Right project at the Asser Institute. Prior to commencing the LLM, she worked as a business and human
rights solicitor in Australia where she specialised in promoting business
respect for human rights through engagement with policy, law and practice.
This report compiles all relevant news,
events and materials on Doing Business Right based on the coverage provided on
our twitter feed @DoinBizRight and on various websites. You are invited to
contribute to this compilation via the comments section below, feel free to add
links to important cases, documents and articles we may have overlooked. More...
Editor’s note: Daniela Heerdt is a PhD candidate at Tilburg Law School in the Netherlands. Her PhD research deals with the establishment of responsibility and accountability for adverse human rights impacts of mega-sporting events, with a focus on FIFA World Cups and Olympic Games. She recently published an article in the International Sports Law Journal that discusses to what extent the revised bidding and hosting regulations by FIFA, the IOC and UEFA strengthen access to remedy for mega-sporting events-related human rights violations.
The 21st FIFA World Cup is currently underway. Billions of people around the world follow the matches with much enthusiasm and support. For the time being, it almost seems forgotten that in the final weeks leading up to the events, critical reports on human rights issues related to the event piled up. This blog explains why addressing these issues has to start well in advance of the first ball being kicked and cannot end when the final match has been played. More...
The headline of the New York Times on 24 April summed it up: ‘Supreme Court Bars Human Rights Suits Against Foreign Corporations’. The Jesner decision,
released earlier that day by the U.S. Supreme Court, triggered a tremor
of indignation in the human rights movement given the immunity it
conferred to foreign corporations violating human rights against suits
under the Alien Tort Statute, and led to a flood of legal and academic
commentaries online. This panel discussion, organised with the support
of the Netherlands Network of Human Rights Research, will
address various aspects of the judgment. Its aim is to better
understand the road travelled by American courts leading up to the
decision with regard to the application of the Alien Tort Statute to
corporations, to compare the decision with the position taken in other
jurisdictions, and to discuss the ruling's potential broader impact on
the direction taken by the business and human rights movement.
Where: T.M.C. Asser Instituut in The Hague
When: Thursday 24 May at 2:30 pm
- Phillip Paiement (Tilburg University) - The Jesner case and the ATS: An American perspective
- Lucas Roorda (Utrecht University) - A comparative perspective on Jesner and corporate liability for human rights violations
- Nadia Bernaz (Wageningen University) - Lessons for the business and human rights movement after Jesner
Editor's Note: Marie Wilmet is a research intern in Public
International Law at the Asser Institute. She recently graduated from Leiden
University’s LL.M. in Public International Law. Her main fields of interest
include international criminal law, humanitarian law and human rights law as
well as counterterrorism.
Alliance for Torture-Free Trade was launched
on 18 September 2017, at the 72nd Session of the United Nations (UN)
General Assembly, by a common initiative of Argentina, the European Union (EU)
and Mongolia. It aims
at ending the trade in goods used to carry out the death penalty and torture.
Indeed, even though torture is unlawful under public international law, these
goods are currently available on the open market across the globe. By banning
such tools from global trade, the Alliance hopes to reduce the possible human
rights violations by complicating the perpetrators’ acquisition of the means to
execute and torture people.
initiative is part of a broader agenda both at the UN and EU level. It falls
under the broader umbrella of UN projects such as the UN Guiding
Principles for Business and Human Rights or the UN Global
Compact. Moreover, the EU has tried in the recent years
to strengthen the rule of law by conducting policies where trade
and values are more interrelated. As the EU
Trade Commissioner Cecilia Malmström stated,
“human rights cannot be treated as an afterthought when it comes to trade”.
blog will first retrace the origins of the Alliance by outlining the current
factual and legal framework surrounding torture, the death penalty and related
trade. Then, the Alliance and its ambitions will be analysed, along with the
chances of its effective implementation. More...
Tomáš Grell holds an LL.M.
in Public International Law from Leiden University. He contributes to
the work of the ASSER International Sports Law Centre as a research
Concerns about adverse
human rights impacts related to FIFA's activities have intensified ever since its
late 2010 decision to award the 2018 and 2022 World Cup to Russia and Qatar
respectively. However, until recently, the world's governing body of football
had done little to eliminate these concerns, thereby encouraging human rights
advocates to exercise their critical eye on FIFA.
In response to growing
criticism, the Extraordinary FIFA Congress, held in February 2016, decided to include an explicit
human rights commitment in the revised FIFA Statutes which came into force in April 2016. This commitment
is encapsulated in Article 3 which reads as follows: ''FIFA is committed to respecting all internationally recognized human
rights and shall strive to promote the protection of these rights''. At
around the same time, Professor John Ruggie, the author of the United Nations Guiding
Principles on Business and Human Rights ('UN Guiding
Principles') presented in his report 25 specific recommendations for FIFA on how to
further embed respect for human rights across its global operations. While
praising the decision to make a human rights commitment part of the
organization's constituent document, Ruggie concluded that ''FIFA does not have yet adequate systems in
place enabling it to know and show that it respects human rights in practice''.
With the 2018 World Cup
in Russia less than a year away, the time is ripe to look at whether Ruggie's
statement about FIFA's inability to respect human rights still holds true
today. This blog outlines the most salient human rights risks related to FIFA's
activities and offers a general overview of what the world's governing body of
football did over the past twelve months to mitigate these risks. Information
about FIFA's human rights activities is collected primarily from its Activity Update on Human Rights published alongside FIFA's Human Rights Policy in June 2017. More...
Editor's note: Sara Martinetto is an intern at T.M.C. Asser Institute.
She has recently completed her LLM in Public International Law at the University of
Amsterdam. She holds interests in Migration Law, Criminal Law, Human Rights and
European Law, with a special focus on their transnational dimension.
Since the adoption by the UN Human Rights Council of Resolution 26/9 in
2014, an Open-ended Intergovernmental Working Group (WG) is working on a
binding Treaty capable of holding transnational corporations accountable for
human rights abuses. Elaborating on the proposal presented by Ecuador and South
Africa, the WG has been holding periodical sessions. In much
trepidation for what is supposed to be the start of substantive negotiations –
scheduled for October 23-27, 2017 – it is worth summarising and highlighting
the struggles this new instrument is likely to encounter, and investigating whether
(and how) such an agreement could foster transnational corporations’ (TNCs)
human rights compliance. More...
Doing Business has been a (if
not the) core concern for the post-WWII world order, leading up to contemporary
economic globalisation and the ‘free’ movement of
goods, capital and ideas across the globe. With our research project, and the
launch of this companion blog, we aim to shift the focus towards Doing Business
Right. Thanks to the financial crisis
in 2008, there is growing awareness of the fact that Doing Business can lead to extremely adverse social and economic
consequences. The trust in Doing Business
as a cure-all to modernize, democratize, or civilize the world is fading. Moreover,
the damaging externalities prompted by the operation of transnational economic
activity are more and more visible. It has become harder, nowadays, to ignore
the environmental and social consequences triggered elsewhere by our
consumption patterns or by our reliance on certain energy industries. What does
Doing Business Right mean? How does
the law respond to the urge to do business right? What are the legal mechanisms
used, or that could be used, to ensure that business is done in the right way? Can
transnational business activity even be subjected to law in a globalized world?
This blog will offer an academic platform for scholars and practitioners
interested in these questions. With your help we aim to
investigate the multiple legal and regulatory constructs affecting transnational
business conduct - ranging from public international law to internal corporate
practices. We will do so by hosting in-depth case studies, but also more
theoretical takes on the normative underpinnings of the idea of Doing Business Right. We aim to be inclusive in
methodological terms, and believe that private and public, as well as national
and international, legal (and...) scholars should come together to tackle a genuinely
transnational phenomenon. Future posts will cover issues as diverse as
national, EU, international, transnational regulations - including self-regulation,
voluntary codes, and market-based regulatory instruments - applying to transnational business conduct.
Case law from the CJEU, international tribunals (ICJ, arbitral tribunals) and
national courts, as well as decisions from international organisations,
national agencies (such as competition authorities) will be recurring objects
of discussion and analysis. Yet, our perspective is not solely focused on the (traditional)
law: management practices of companies and their effects will also be
This blog is thought as an open discursive
space to engage and debate with a wide variety of actors and perspectives. We
hope to get the attention of those who care about Doing Business Right, and to provide useful
intellectual and legal weapons for their endeavours.
Antoine Duval is a Senior researcher at the Asser Institute since 2014. He holds a PhD from the European University Institute in Florence in which he scrutinized the interaction between EU law and the transnational private regulation of world sport, the lex sportiva. His research is mainly focused on transnational legal theory, international arbitration, and private regulation.
Enrico Partiti is researcher at the Asser Institute since 2017. He holds a PhD from the University of Amsterdam on private standards for sustainability. His research interest lies at the intersection of EU and international economic law on the one hand, and private regulation for sustainability on the other. He studies the interactions and reciprocal influence between transnational public and private norms, and how they determine and impact on social and environmental sustainability in global value chains.