Please join us for the latest Human Rights Speaker Series focusing on Rescuing the Business and Human Rights Project by ‘Reinstating Rights’
Chair: Professor Sheldon Leader
The business and human rights (BHR) field has seen a phenomenal growth in the past few decades, especially after the Human Rights Council’s endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs). Governments, international organisations, businesses, investors, industry associations, consultants, civil society organisations, trade unions, policy makers, academics and lawyers are increasingly integrating BHR standards and narratives in their respective work. But how much has changed for the rights holders affected by business activities?
In this talk, I will argue that little has changed for the rights holders on the ground and that one main reason for this situation is that ‘rights’ in BHR do not really mean rights either on paper or in practice. This scenario creates the risk of BHR becoming a new avatar of CSR (corporate social responsibility). Rescuing the BHR project from corporate misappropriation of human rights would require reinstating rights in the BHR field. The talk will outline how result this could be achieved.
Surya Deva is an Associate Professor at the School of Law of City University of Hong Kong, and the current Vice-Chair of the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights. Prof Deva’s primary research interests lie in Business and Human Rights, India-China Constitutional Law, and Sustainable Development. He has published extensively in these areas, and has advised various UN bodies, governments, multinational corporations and civil society organisations on matters related to business and human rights.
He is one of the founding Editors-in-Chief of the Business and Human Rights Journal, and sits on the Editorial/Advisory Board of the Netherlands Quarterly of Human Rights, the Vienna Journal on International Constitutional Law, the Indian Law Review, and the Australian Journal of Human Rights. Prof Deva is an elected member of the Executive Committee of the International Association of Constitutional Law (2018-22).
Emeritus Professor Sheldon Leader is founder and co-director of the Essex Business and Human Rights Project (EBHR) and a longstanding member of the Human Rights Centre at University of Essex. He has been a member of the Advisory to the Human Rights Committee of the Law Society of England and Wales.
He has lectured at the University of Essex, the University of Paris-Ouest, and at a number of universities in the US. His work with the EBHR involves advice and training on issues involving business and human rights in various parts of the world.