The Importance of 'Remedy' in Business and Human Rights

Which of the three pillars is the most important?

The three pillars of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are “Protect, Respect and Remedy” (Human Rights Council, 2011). Out of these three pillars, remedy is the most important pillar because without remedy, protection and respect of human rights are superfluous and have no real impact. The following is the outline for the essay.

1. Introduction

This section will briefly provide the background for the essay and state the thesis as well as provide the general scheme for the essay. The thesis for this essay is that out of the three pillars, ‘remedy’ is the most important pillar as it provides the victim of human rights violations with a mechanism for redressal. Without such redressal, the provision of rights is meaningless.


2. United Nations Guiding Principles: Background and significance

The Guiding Principles took six years of work by the Special Representative on the issue of business and human rights (Jagers, 2011). The objective behind the principles is to guide states in creating legislations and that lead to the protective mechanisms within which specific protections and remedies to people as against impacts of business activities are provided (Addo, 2014). This area has generally been approached through soft law in international law (Ruggie, 2007). The Guiding Principles address the issues of interplay between business and human rights in a more concrete manner. The principles also guide national human rights commissions (Haász, 2013).

3. Need to protect and respect human rights from the impact of business activities

Communities and individuals across the globe are adversely affected by activities of multinational corporations. This is aided by the multitude of obstacles that impede the process of bringing multinational companies before judicial mechanisms. This section discusses the significance of the Guiding Principles in the context of business activities and their impact on human rights.

4. Remedy: The most important pillar

A greater access by victims to effective remedy, both judicial and non-judicial is key to ensuring protection and respect for human rights (Jagers, 2011). It is important to note that even the most diligent and concentrated efforts to protect human rights, will not be able to prevent all forms or incidence of abuse. Therefore, it is necessary that remedies be provided for the violation of the rights (de Felice & Graf, 2015).

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5. Conclusion

This section will conclude the essay by restating the thesis and summarizing the principle arguments in support of the thesis.

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  • Addo, M., 2014. The Reality of the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Human Rights Law Review, 14(1), pp. 133-147.
  • de Felice, D. & Graf, A., 2015. The Potential of National Action Plans to Implement Human Rights Norms: An Early Assessment with Respect to the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. Journal of Human Rights Practice, 7(1), pp. 40-71.
  • Haász, V., 2013. The role of national human rights institutions in the implementation of the UN guiding principles. Human Rights Review, 14(3), pp. 165-187.
  • H. R. C., 2011. Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations “Protect, Respect and Remedy” Framework. s.l.:United Nations.
  • Jagers, N., 2011. UN Guiding Principles On Business And Human Rights: Making Headway Towards Real Corporate Accountability?. Neth. Q. Hum. Rts. , Volume 29, p. 159 .
  • Ruggie, J. G., 2007. Current Developments: Business and Human Rights: The Evolving International Agenda. Am. J. Int'l L. , Volume 101, p. 819.

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