Business-related human rights abuse and remedies

Ensuring access to effective remedy is an important part of global efforts to encourage business conduct that respects human rights. A new Fundamental Rights Agency’s (FRA) paper looks at examples of business-related human rights abuse and identifies key factors facilitating access to remedy. A comparative report will follow in 2020, which will identify obstacles for victims seeking justice and put forward proposals to overcome them.

FRA’s paper Business-related human rights abuse reported in the EU and available remedies provides an overview of select examples of business-related human rights abuse identified through desk research. It refers to the types of industry sectors involved, the profile of victims and types of rights affected, as well as the complaints mechanisms used.

The findings presented are linked to FRA’s previous work in this area, in particular its 2017 Opinion on Improving access to remedy in the area of business and human rights at the EU level, which the Council of the EU had requested.

Examples of issues identified by this paper include:

  • victims of incidents involving multinational companies encounter far more obstacles when seeking justice;
  • the prospect of a favourable outcome seems lower in such cases – particularly when the case relates to a cross-border situation reaching outside the EU;
  • victims rarely pursue a remedy individually – in many cases NGOs assist them, through collective redress or representative action, or various forms of advisory or non-judicial mechanisms.

Background information:

In 2017, the European Commission asked the FRA to collect evidence on access to remedy for victims of business-related human rights abuse. This paper presents preliminary findings from the first phase of the research, which will be elaborated further in 2020. A final comparative report will provide guidance to the EU on measures to improve access to justice.