The demands of human rights impact on businesses at a steadily increasing pace. This opens a complex and fast changing field of concerns, posing challenges to law and to the social and natural sciences.
We encourage dialogue across these disciplines and among actors from a broad range of backgrounds. Our aim is to foster research and to bring the results of that research to bear on practical problems, working on national and international issues and collaborating with partners across the world.
Essex Business and Human Rights will assist with the formulation of research ideas and links with possible funding sources. Projects envisaged include those via partnerships with other universities, NGO's, inter-governmental organizations, etc. Essex Business and Human Rights will offer training, consultancy, assistance with litigation, policy analysis, resources for teaching and student involvement.
Projects previously undertaken by our members covered a wide range of areas, from balancing national and local human rights concerns in development projects, corporate complicity in human rights abuses, regional human rights law and multinational corporate accountability, commercial arbitration and human rights, extraterritorial treaty obligations and their impact on companies, project finance, development and human rights, unconscionable debt and resistance, social movements and human rights pressure groups and their impacts on business and management.
The project will offer short courses to lawyers, NGO's, businesses, and governments on particular areas that call for dealing with areas requiring a specialist focus.
Members of the project have experience in the analysis of legal frameworks for investment projects; in the structure of corporate governance; in suitable accounting methods; and other areas of potential use for non-academic users including NGOs, labour organizations, businesses, governments, and inter-governmental organizations.
The project is particularly interested in proactive approaches to human rights and environmental problems raised by business. To that end members have been involved in formulation of policies that can lead to improved codes of practice; to amended legislation or regulation, improved contracts; and other alterations designed to prevent problems arising.
The human rights and environmental impacts of business forms an increasingly popular topic for courses across a wide spectrum of disciplines. The project provides a resource centre for potentially relevant material of use in courses.
Students are invited to become involved in several project activities. This includes research assistance; preparation of background materials and arguments for litigation; work on particular issues of policy leading to position papers.
We also provide staff and students with a forum for discussion of project related issues through our Essex Business and Human Rights seminar series as well as opportunities to participate in background research for consultancy on a broad range of topics.