FIDH Launches Website Guiding Victims Faced with Corporate Human Rights Abuses

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For the 10-year anniversary of the adoption of UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, FIDH is pleased to announce the publication of an updated version of its long standing resource “Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses: A Guide for Victims and NGOs on Recourse Mechanisms.” The guide has been revamped in the form of an interactive website to become more accessible and widely used and can be found at

Sign up for the launch event.

With this guide, FIDH seeks to provide a practical tool for victims and their representatives, NGOs, and other civil society groups, including unions, social movements, and activists, to seek justice and obtain reparation for victims of human rights abuses involving multinational corporations.

The guide explores the different avenues available to victims, including judicial and non-judicial recourse mechanisms. It focuses primarily on violations committed by or with the involvement of transnational corporations, their subsidiaries, or their commercial partners in third countries where they operate.

The new guide is published against the backdrop of a rapidly-evolving business and human rights field. In the decade following the adoption of United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights – a major, yet insufficient, step towards greater accountability for corporate-related violations – several important developments have influenced the avenues through which affected individuals and their representatives can seek remedy for corporate-related harm. These include important rulings regarding the duty of care doctrine in the United Kingdom and the Netherlands or Alien Tort Statute cases in the United States, the development of new mandatory due diligence standards in the European Union, but also the growing number of climate litigation cases which often draw on human rights, illustrated by the successful climate case brought against Shell in the Netherlands last month. These developments are detailed in the guide, which also features a new section on climate litigation.

“This new edition of the guide prepared by FIDH comes at the most opportune time: while it identifies a range of solutions to fix accountability gaps in corporate violations of human rights, it also serves to identify the sources of impunity, thus guiding governments in improving the remedial framework which victims may rely on,” said Olivier De Schutter, UN Special Rapporteur on Extreme Poverty and Human Rights, who has actively contributed to the guide’s elaboration and update since its inception in 2010.

He continued, “The guide is also unique in its ambition. It presents a complete synthesis of the various possibilities open to victims of human rights violations by transnational corporations and assesses their effectiveness. But the guide is also more than that. It bears testimony to how the international human rights law of is transforming, from imposing obligations only on States – still the primary duty-bearers – to gradually taking into account that non-State actors – particularly corporations operating across borders, on which State control is sometimes weak.”

Eleven years after this guide was first published, the situation remains dire despite growing efforts to tackle the problem. Access to justice for victims of corporate abuse remains largely an illusion and, all too often, impunity stubbornly prevails. On every continent, victims of human rights violations and serious environmental damage still struggle to obtain justice and reparations.

The guide is comprised of five sections, each examining a different avenue for redress, including intergovernmental mechanisms, legal options, mediation mechanisms such as the OECD National Contact Points, complaint mechanisms established by financial institutions, and holding companies to account based on their voluntary commitments.

To date, however, none of these existing mechanisms fully provide effective redress. Access to effective remedy must be at the heart of normative developments at international, regional, and national levels, including the European Union’s legislative proposal on mandatory human rights and environmental due diligence, expected this fall.

To kick-start the new, interactive version of “Corporate Accountability for Human Rights Abuses, A Guide for Victims, and NGOs on Recourse Mechanisms,” FIDH will hold a high-level the webinar entitled “Latest Developments in Corporate Accountability: Lessons Learned and Next Steps,” on 18 June 2021 at 13:30 - 15:30 CEST (Register, Find your time zone).

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