Human Rights Council

The centrality of the victims in access to remedy…

The centrality of the victims in access to remedy - Forum on Business and Human Rights 2023

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Day 1 (Room XIX) - The centrality of the victims in access to remedy for impacts of companies on human rights in Latin America and the Caribbean - 12th United Nations Forum on Business and Human Rights 27 - 29 November 2023
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Brief description of the session:
  • The right to effective remedy constitutes in itself a human right recognized in different international instruments and included transversally in the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Although the Guiding Principles highlight the crucial importance of prevention, they also include the need for States and companies to have mechanisms available for situations in which people's rights have been affected by business activity. This is precisely the focus of the third pillar of the Guiding Principles, but also an integral part of the State's duty to protect human rights and of companies to respect them. Access to effective remedy comprises both procedural aspects, which refer to the process of identifying, providing, facilitating and monitoring the remedy, as well as substantive aspects, which make up the remedy itself. 
  • Access to remedy is a topic of constant concern in Latin America and the Caribbean (LAC). At the 11th Global Forum, held in 2022, the focus of the session dedicated to LAC was put on the main obstacles to accessing effective remedy in the region, such as economic dependence, information asymmetry, the difficulty of proof, the corporate veil, among others. With the aim of continuing this debate, this year, the session will delve into the substantive aspects of remedy, what remedy achieves or should achieve, the results of the processes carried out by victims, whether through state mechanisms, judicial or non-judicial, as well as non-state mechanisms, for example, those offered by companies. The discussion will focus on the importance of the centrality of victims, considering the lessons learned that these mechanisms have brought in their practice, and seeking to highlight experiences that strengthen a constructive and cooperative commitment to improve remedy in cases of abuse and damage generated by companies in the region. Understanding the challenges of remedy from the perspective of the region is essential since for remedy to be effective it must be considered as the application of different and sometimes multiple forms of remedies (bouquet of remedies) capable of giving response to the diversity of damages experienced by affected rights holders (UNGA A/72/162, 2017). 
Key objectives of the session:
  • Identify examples of remedy that are currently offered through different mechanisms. 
  • Based on specific cases, discuss the results achieved in different remedy mechanisms, as well as who and what have been left behind in each of them. 
  • Understand what is necessary to ensure the centrality of victims in obtaining effective remedy, considering the importance of guaranteeing and respecting their ways of life in the processes and results of the mechanisms used. 
  • Map and discuss what is necessary for the mechanisms to be in fact effective, meet the expectations of victims and do not aggravate or cause new harm. 
Key discussion questions: 
  • What type of remedy can people currently obtain for abuses and damages generated by companies through judicial mechanisms, administrative mechanisms of the State, processes promoted by INDH or PNC, or non-state mechanisms? 
  • What are the concrete results obtained in the remedy mechanisms? Are they sufficient and adequate to promote comprehensive remedy in fact from the perspective of the victims and not cause or aggravate harm? 
  • What are the expectations of the victims? To what extent can access to remedy mechanisms respond to such expectations? 
  • What are the main lessons learned from specific cases and what do States and companies need to do to guarantee comprehensive reparation? 
  •  Moderator: Fernanda Hopenhaym
  • Speakers : Mariana Döering Zamprogna, Maria de Carmen Mora Garduno, Roberto Carlos Vidal Lopez, Maria José Alzari, Clementina Lepio Melipichun
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