Course on Business and Human Rights – 3rd Edition

Course on Business and Human Rights – 3rd Edition

In the last few years, several countries around the world have taken steps to promote responsible business conduct. While in some cases it has been voluntary and non-binding like the National Action Plan on Business & Human Rights, in other cases, there are legislations such as the Modern Slavery Act and the mandatory human rights due-diligence code for the same. India has recently launched its National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct and has started a process of developing a National Action Plan on Business & Human Rights.

Upholding this spirit, Oxfam India in collaboration with The Indian Law Institute, Delhi (ILI) and Human Rights and Business Academy (HURBA) organised a five day long intensive course on ‘business and human rights’ (BHR), starting from 8 July 2019. The course provided exposure on international and comparative perspectives in the field of BHR to over 50 law and business management students, lawyers, civil society representatives, policy makers, corporate executives, and government officials. It provided them an opportunity to share insights on:

  • Governance and accountability of state owned companies
  • Corporate criminal liability for grave human rights violations
  • Judicial mechanisms and non-judicial mechanisms for corporate human rights violations
  • Accountability of lead firm for violations in a supply chain
  • Liability of financial institutions and investors for conduct of its investee companies
  • Mandatory Human Rights Due Diligence
  • Modern slavery legislations
  • Corporate tax evasion
  • Stock exchange listing obligations related to social and environment disclosures

The course was spread across 35 hours of interactive seminars. It was conducted pro-bono by eminent national and international academicians and practitioners focusing on comparative and international perspectives on BHR. The course elaborated on policy frameworks and mechanisms like the UN Guiding Principles on Responsible Business, OECD (Organisation for Economic Cooperation and Development ) Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises, National Guidelines on Responsible Business Conduct and Sustainable Development Goals (SDSs). It also focused on the role of civil society organisations, human rights defenders, investors and consumers and the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) to protect labour rights in global supply chains, human rights due diligence and maintain gender balance as part of BHR. Moreover, the course also included a session on technology in BHR and a case study on negotiations.

The course faculty included Dr. Ranjit Singh (Joint Secretary, National Human Rights Commission of India), Prof. Surya Deva (Associate Professor, City University of Hong Kong), Tara Van Ho (Lecturer, University of Essex), Usha Ramanathan (Independent Law Researcher), Leila Choukroune (Professor of International Law, University of Portsmouth), Lara Jesani (Lawyer), Namit Agarwal (Lead Specialist, Private Sector Engagement, Oxfam India), Justine Nolan (Associate Professor, University of New South Wales) and Manoj Kumar Sinha (Director, ILI).

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