Human rights: Extrajudicial complaint mechanisms particularily suitable
For a number of years, companies have been facing increased pressure when it comes to human rights violations. Numerous multinational corporations such as Shell Oil, Texaco or Unocal were accused of such violations, resulting in years of legal disputes and public campaigns harming their reputation. "Balancing human rights and corporate interests can often be problematic", explains Claudia Sprenger. She was part of a team led by principal investigator Karin Lukas from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute for Human Rights, together with Barbara Linder and Astrid Kutrzeba, which conducted a three-year research project funded by the FWF to explore what strategies might best be used for conflict resolution where human rights violations occur in a business environment. The researchers from Vienna focused on non-judicial complaint mechanisms. Unlike states, which are subjects of international law, corporations are not subjected to legally binding international instruments, but they are bound by national laws. "It's rare for cases to make it to the courtroom, and if they do the proceedings are usually lengthy, complex and don't lead to satisfactory outcomes", underlines Karin Lukas, a human rights expert.
UN Guiding Principles and case analyses
Currently, several initiatives at global level have been endeavouring to create standards for responsibilities transnational enterprises must assume in respect of human rights. In 2011, the United Nations Human Rights Council unanimously endorsed the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights developed within the "Protect, Respect, Remedy" framework. Following comprehensive case analyses and interviews with experts as well as people responsible for this issue in the business world, the team from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute has identified important indicators for sustainably translating recommendations such as the UN Guiding Principles into the reality of business life. In order to do that, the researchers reviewed the settlement of real-life complaints, vetting them for their strength and weaknesses, both on the part of corporations such as Adidas and Hewlett Packard and of multi-stakeholder bodies and international institutions such as the World Bank and the OECD.
Trust and co-operation
One of these multi-stakeholder bodies is the well-known "Fair Wear Foundation", an organisation composed of companies, NGOs and trade unions, which champions equitable working conditions in garment factories worldwide. "The strength of organisations such as 'Fair Wear' resides in the fact that they have people in the field who speak the local language and can establish a relationship of trust with the people concerned", says Claudia Sprenger. Such initiatives are often more effective than those taken by international organisations or corporations, because they bring together many players. In order to address the root causes of problems, such as the particularly difficult issue of monitoring supply chains, additional elements are required: apart from building trust, more co-operation among all stakeholders and additional initiatives and follow-up measures would be required, notes Sprenger in her summary of the project results.
Even though non-judicial resolution mechanisms are slow in gaining ground, companies are increasingly aware of their responsibility in the global play of forces between the interests of the local population, policy-makers and business partners. In 2014, Adidas set up the Third Party Complaint Process for breaches to the Adidas Group Workplace Standards or violations of international human rights norms, to quote just one example of a corporate effort to safeguard human rights.
New recommendations for good practice
The results of the FWF project confirm that the resolution criteria laid down in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights are actually effective. The experts from the Ludwig Boltzmann Institute also identified a number of other so-called "excellence criteria". Complaint mechanisms should address the underlying structural problems and not merely fight the symptoms. "Problems are often similar in nature, such as people not being able to choose which trade union they want to join", Sprenger observes from her practical experience. Companies should seek to establish a dialogue with stakeholders and engage mediators. Furthermore, the mechanisms should be transparent and independent and take local contexts into account. The chosen resolution routes should be geared to international standards and not just offer financial compensation. According to the project team, a successful mechanism is characterised by the involvement of all stakeholders in the negotiations and a fair and equitable negotiating process.
"Implementation of what has been agreed on is a great challenge. Some of the mechanisms we investigated did prove successful in doing that", says Lukas. In their book "Corporate Accountability", the researchers set out their findings with a view to facilitating the balancing of corporate interests and human rights in the future. The book includes the outcomes of the FWF project, all case analyses and the resulting recommendations.
FWF Austrian Science Fund
The Austrian Science Fund (FWF) is Austria's central funding organization for basic research.
The purpose of the FWF is to support the ongoing development of Austrian science and basic research at a high international level. In this way, the FWF makes a significant contribution to cultural development, to the advancement of our knowledge-based society, and thus to the creation of value and wealth in Austria.
Dr. Karin Lukas, E.MA, LL.M
Ludwig Boltzmann Institute
of Human Rights
Freyung 6, 1. Hof, Stiege II
1010 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 4277 27431
Austrian Science Fund FWF
Haus der Forschung
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 67 40 - 8117
PR&D – Public Relations for Research and Education
1090 Vienna, Austria
T +43 / 1 / 505 70 44
This release was published on openPR.
Permanent link to this press release:
Please set a link in the press area of your homepage to this press release on openPR. openPR disclaims liability for any content contained in this release.
You can edit or delete your press release Human rights: Extrajudicial complaint mechanisms particularily suitable here
News-ID: 474579 • Views: 911
More Releases from Austrian Science Fund FWF
Body language in the classroom
Body language plays a crucial role, particularly in communication between teachers and students. This is the outcome of a project funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF which focused on the hidden elements of teaching. An encouraging smile, a sceptical frown, a negating shake of the head: body language is very diverse and effective. With the discovery of mirror neurons, brain researchers corroborated its impact by demonstrating how these nerve cells
Art history – In the eye of the beholder
What viewers of a work of art see and feel is informed by their socio-cultural background and by how familiar they are with the image. Art historians have now verified this theory with the help of methods that are usually used in psychology. This project is funded by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. The influence culture has on an individual's experience and behaviour is a long-standing object of research
Targeting chronic pain
With the support of the Austrian Science Fund FWF, the neurophysiologist Ruth Drdla-Schutting is investigating the role astrocytes play in the genesis of chronic pain. With the help of innovative gene technology (DREADDs), scientists are tailoring treatment specifically to these cells that are the most numerous found in the central nervous system. Pain is an important protection system of the human body. But when it becomes chronic, as it frequently
News from Wittgenstein's world of ideas
In a project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF, the analysis of hitherto unpublished lecture notes from a student and friend of Wittgenstein's has resulted in an important publication providing new insights into central issues of the philosophers' work. The pieces are slowly coming together to form a picture. – Decades after the death of one of the 20th century's most influential philosophers, scientists are still discovering hitherto unpublished manuscripts
More Releases for Austria
Austria Agriculture Market | Austria Agriculture Industry | Austria Agriculture …
The share of Austria agriculture within the Austrian economy declined steady afterward World War II, agriculture continues to represent a very important part of the economy attributable to its social and political significance. The Chamber of Agriculture rests on an equal level with the chambers of commerce and labour, though its members manufactures solely a fraction of the GDP that industrial and sale able labours produce. Though little, the agricultural sector is
Agrochemicals Market in Austria
ReportsWorldwide has announced the addition of a new report title Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021) to its growing collection of premium market research reports. The report “Austria: Agrochemicals: Market Intelligence (2016-2021)” provides market intelligence on the different market segments, based on type, active ingredient, formulation, crop, and pest. Market size and forecast (2016-2021) has been provided in terms of both, value (000 USD) and volume (000 KG) in the report. A
Nazi psychology in Austria
The history of academic psychology after the "Anschluss", the annexation of Austria by Germany in 1938, and its role as a discipline used in National Socialist policies is being examined systematically for the first time in a research project supported by the Austrian Science Fund FWF. "It is a sad fact”, says psychologist Gerhard Benetka from the Sigmund Freud University Vienna "that applied psychology flourished during the National Socialist era
ESCHA Bauelemente GmbH extends position in Austria
Halver, 8 August 2012 – In the course of its globalizing strategy, the German connector- and housing specialist ESCHA starts up direct sales abroad for the first time: On 1 July 2012 the company welcomed Andreas Mader as its first Field Salesman in Austria. Operating from the capital Vienna, Mr. Mader will support existing customers as well as extend the business operations. Simultaniously ESCHA will continue to market its products
Creative Austria meets creative Russia
Euroforum: communicatin ready for the next lap Vienna. On 22nd of October 2009 the advertising association Vienna invites again to the annual Euroforum: communication event, platform for European communication, guaranteeing an interesting mix of “connecting businesses and communications”. The Event takes place in Studio 44, Vienna. Focus point Russia (Moscow, St. Petersburg and Sotschi) The main goal of the Euroforum is to promote and establish business relations and synergies between
Archaeological Sensation in Austria
Scientists from the University of Vienna unearth the earliest evidence of Jewish inhabitants in Austria Archaeologists from the Institute of Prehistory and Early History of the University of Vienna have found an amulet inscribed with a Jewish prayer in a Roman child's grave dating back to the 3rd century CE at a burial ground in the Austrian town of Halbturn. The 2.2-centimeter-long gold scroll represents the earliest sign of