Operationalizing Human Rights in the Business Context

By Tara Van Ho. Tara Van Ho is a post-doctoral research fellow with the INTRALaw Centre at the University of Aarhus’s Department of Law, and a project associate with the Essex Business & Human Rights Project here at Essex. She was formerly a corporate lawyer and now provides human rights research, trainings, and consultancies for NGOs, states, and IGOs. You can follow her on twitter: @TaraVanHo

In a resource-rich Southeast Asian country, a foreign corporation laid an oil pipeline on the outskirts of a town. The assumption by the corporation and the state was that their chosen location for the pipeline wouldn’t cause a disruption to nearby houses and was therefore fine from a human rights perspective. What they didn’t know was that the chosen location required the destruction of trees considered sacred to the local population, a minority ethnic group with specific local traditions. Continue reading

Thoughts on the Operationalization of Human Rights

When asked by the Essex Human Rights Centre to comment for the blog series on what the meaning of “operationalization” of human rights, I hesitated.  The term itself, nowhere to be heard when I was at Essex in the human rights Stone Age, seems ubiquitous now in these circles. I first really became aware of its emergence when participating in informal negotiations on the Human Rights Council resolution on Business and Human Rights in 2008.  Resolution 8/7 “recognize[d] the need to operationalize” the UN framework on business and human rights and mandated stake holder consultations on “ways and means to operationalize the framework.”   I distinctly remember during the course of discussions a number of State delegations expressing puzzlement at the use of the term, with one querying whether the word “operationalization” even existed in the English language. (In fact, certain etymological sources indicate no known usages of term until the 1950s.)

By Ian Seiderman.

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TEPCO’s Fukushima Obligations: How to Remedy Damage to a Community

Four years ago today, an unexpectedly strong earthquake caused an unexpectedly large tsunami which caused a prettypredictable nuclear crisis in Fukushima, Japan.

I am not the one who scientifically determined that the tsunami-causing nuclear crisis was predictable. I am relying on an important source for this: TEPCO, the company whose nuclear power plant caused the crisis.

By Tara VanHo. You can follow Tara on twitter: @TaraVanHo

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Assembly Elections in Jammu & Kashmir, India: A glimmer of hope for the repeal of the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958

The Indian state of Jammu & Kashmir (J&K) has long been the focus of enduring tensions between India and Pakistan. The recent elections – which have resulted in a coalition government formed by the People’s Democratic Party (PDP) and the Bhartiya Janta Party (BJP) – have brought to the fore issues relating to the impunity granted to the security forces under the Armed Forces (Special Powers) Act, 1958 (AFSPA). The AFSPA is presently applicable in parts of J&K and certain states in North-east India.

By Anubhav Tiwari. Anubhav is a qualified advocate from India presently pursuing an LLM in International Human Rights and Humanitarian Law.

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