The Center for Human Rights and Global Justice (CHRGJ) at NYU School of Law and the International Network for Economic, Social, and Cultural Rights (ESCR-Net) celebrated the launch of the Business and Human Rights Documentation (B-HRD pronounced Be Heard) Project in New York on June 28th, 2011. The launch event itself was complemented by a lively discussion between corporate accountability advocates keen on the value of B-HRD in their efforts to holding companies to account for human rights abuses.
“In this advancing technological age, B-HRD expands the way in which plaintiffs in cases and individuals in reports narrate their stories, and in doing so, reveals the human face behind the corporate abuses,” Katherine Gallagher, Senior Staff Attorney at the Center for Constitutional Rights and a key partner in B-HRD’s Combating Impunity In Focus situation remarked. “B-HRD is also a litigation goldmine for new cases and a valuable resource for pushing cases forward. By cataloguing documentation through a rigorous human rights framework, BHRD connects advocates to people on the ground who ultimately put a pressure point on corporation at the home state.”
“B-HRD serves as an institutional memory, not just for Human Rights Watch, but also for the business human rights community as a whole,” observed Lisa Misol, Senior Researcher at Human Rights Watch. “It allows us to look back at what has been achieved, to cross-pollinate with the other organizations working on particular situations, informs decisions on how to move forward and highlights what parts of the world that are under-documented. Internationally, B-HRD is a powerful and simple way to showcase the victims’ stories. It thus serves as a much needed reality check on the people sitting in conferences in various capitals around the world who don’t otherwise hear the stories and see the faces unless it is brought to them.“
"Human rights defenders around the world are fighting the same fight against many of the same corporate actors, but until today they haven't had a common forum where they could share their strategies and challenges," said CHRGJ Faculty Director and B-HRD Co-founder, Smita Narula. "Learning from these common struggles is now more important than ever as corporations increasingly dominate a globalized world in the absence of proper regulatory frameworks. We believe that B-HRD is going to be a vital and powerful tool in the fight against corporate impunity."
“Unlike the Centre...” explained Annabel Short, Programme Director of the Business and Human Rights Resource Centre, “the B-HRD Project strengthens the practice of documentation by focusing on specific reports published using a particular international human rights framework and categorising them accordingly. For activists, looking at other organizations and what has been achieved historically, this is an amazing resource and a great contribution to the field.”
footage of the launch event!
Click to view the Latin America Launch