Key Business and Human Rights Documents

These documents provide a working knowledge of the application of international human rights norms to business conduct.

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These Key Business and Human Rights Documents have been selected by the Editorial Board of the Business and Human Rights Initiative of the American Bar Association (ABA) Center for Human Rights.  Their purpose is to help those who seek to obtain a working knowledge of the application of international human rights norms to business conduct.  The origins, development, and current status of business and human rights (BHR) norms are complex and their impacts on multinational business are undergoing rapid changes, inasmuch as efforts to ensure the protection of these norms in supply chains and other business spheres are occurring at multiple levels of government, in civil society, and in the business community.  In many regards, the most challenging role of the lawyer is to assess the momentum and potential of these efforts and to advise their clients as to how they might anticipate future developments that could impact their companies.

This page is divided into Entries, each dealing with a principal issue involved in today’s discussions of BHR law, its history, and a brief description of current developments.  The Editorial Board will continually add Entries to this site and maintain them on a permanent basis, so that lawyers and other researchers may rapidly find the key BHR-related documents that they will need.  Each Entry is accompanied by heading and a summary of its contents. 

Unless specified otherwise, the views expressed in such documents have not been reviewed and approved by the ABA House of Delegates or the ABA Board of Governors and therefore should not be construed as representing ABA policy.  Further, nothing in such documents constitutes legal advice. 

The members of the Editorial Board are:

  • Brian Burkett
  • Douglass Cassel
  • Claes Cronstedt
  • Elise Groulx Diggs
  • Charity Ryerson
  • Martijn Scheltema
  • John Sherman
  • Robert Thompson, Senior Editor

The biographies of the Board Members and also other contributors of Key Documents appear at Section II, “Biographical Information.”

The postings of Entries regarding Key BHR Documents as of May 2021 are:

A:  International Human Rights Norms; their Origin and Past, Present and Likely Future Developments. 

Edited by Robert Thompson

The following articles provide the reader with an overall history of the principal international human rights norms and a sense of how the area may develop in the near future.

1.    Robert C. Thompson, Anita Ramasastry, and Mark B. Taylor, Translating Unocal:  The Expanding Web of Liability for International Crimes, 40 George Washington International Law Review 841 (2009). 

A wide-ranging analysis of the original sources of the principal international human rights norms, such as the Geneva Conventions and the Genocide Convention, the mechanics for the incorporation of international norms into domestic laws, the means whereby victims might bring actions, and the numerous obstacles, both legal and practical, that confront victims when attempting to do so.  The article discusses the roles of international courts—such as the International Criminal Court and the International Criminal Tribunal for the Former Yugoslavia—and their applications of the international norms and resulting liability for various modes of participation in crimes.  It discusses the issues involved when attempting to apply international norms to “judicial persons” such as corporations and partnerships or penetrate the “corporate veil” so as to reach the parent corporations of subsidiaries involved in breaches.  It assesses the role of the doctrines of forum non conveniens, “act of state,” and other frequently raised defenses to extraterritorial application of a state’s criminal and civil laws.  Finally, the article examines the factors at play when authorities in a state in which a multinational enterprise is located consider taking action against such an enterprise arising out of its foreign conduct.

2.    Elise Groulx Diggs, Mitt Regan, and Beatrice Parance, Business and Human Rights as a Galaxy of Norms, 50/2 Georgetown Journal of International Law 309 (Winter 2019)

This article closely examines the various components that make up the “galaxy” of international human rights norms.   It described the “rings” into which international human rights norms may be grouped, based upon the “hardness” or “softness” of their authority at any given time.  It points out that “hard” law in the center ring is rapidly expanding, as legislatures, courts and administrative bodies turn “soft” law into “hard” regulatory mandates and binding elements of the duty of care.  It discusses the ways in which extra-legal stakeholders, such as banks, insurance companies, investors, customers and shareholders, are continuously influencing the decisions of businesses in the human rights area.  The article argues that legal practitioners should familiarize themselves with “soft” law authorities, given this highly dynamic process and its impact on the potential for application to their clients’ activities.

Entry B.  The United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights. 

Edited by John Sherman

If I were to be asked by my client to get up to speed on the UNGPs, here is what I would examine first:

1.     UNGPs 101 (2021). This 3 ½ minute video is designed for someone who knows little or nothing about the UNGPs and wants an introduction.  It hits all of the high spots.

2.     UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (2011). The UNGPs are the authoritative global standard on business and human rights and resulted from a six-year process of multistakeholder consultations, research and pilot projects.  The UNGPs rest on three interrelated pillars:  Pillar 1. the state duty to protect human rights; Pillar II the business responsibility to respect human rights; and Pillar III, the need for greater.  They consist of 31 operating principles and integrated commentary.  They are a relatively easy and clear read, since they have only one author, Professor Ruggie, and the style is practical rather than academic.

3.    John F Sherman, III, Beyond CSR: The Story of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights in Rae Lindsay and Roger Martella (eds.), Corporate Social Responsibility-Sustainable Business: Environmental, Social and Governance Frameworks for the 21st Century (Wolters Kluwer 2020) ch 2.  This chapter provides a succinct history and description of the background, content, and uptake of the UNGP

4.    United Nations, The Corporate Responsibility to Respect Human Rights, an Interpretive Guide (2012).  The Interpretive Guide was authored by the UN Office of the High Commissioner on Human Rights (OHCHR) with the full approval of the SRSG. It provides a comprehensive and practical guide to the understanding and application of the second pillar of the UNGPs, the responsibility to respect human rights. It is an essential companion to the UNGPs.

5.    OECD, OECD Due Diligence Guidance for Responsible Business Conduct (2018).  In 2012, the OECD revised it voluntary guidelines for multinational enterprises by revising its human rights section and importing the concept of human rights due diligence as used in the UNGPs.  It has continued to provide detailed guidance on how companies can conduct human rights due diligence.

6.     Global Compact Network Netherlands, Oxfam, and Shift, Doing business with respect for human rights (2016).  This paper provides practical guidance on how a company can set the overall tone on human rights through its policy commitments, how it can embed those commitments into the company’s DNA, how it can move from reactively to proactively assessing its impacts, how it can walk the talk by integrating and acting in response to human rights risks, how it show how it is doing, how it can make it meaningful by engaging with stakeholders, and how it can respond promptly and effectively to solve human rights problems.

7.    Shift and Mazars, UN Guiding Principles Reporting Framework (2017).  This is the first comprehensive reporting framework that is focused on the internal understanding and external reporting of a company’s human rights performance under the UNGPs.   The Reporting Framework is a short series of smart questions to which any company should have answers, both to know whether it is doing business with respect for human rights, and to show others the progress it is making.  The Reporting Framework is supported by two kinds of guidance: implementation guidance for companies that are reporting, and assurance guidance for internal auditors and external assurance providers.   It is used by over 150 major multinational publicly traded companies, and is backed by governments, investor coalitions with approximately USD $5.3 trillion assets under management, investors, stock exchanges, law firms, and other reporting initiatives.

8.    International Bar Association, IBA Practical Guide on Business and Human Rights for Business Lawyers and Reference Annex (2015 and 2016).    This is the original wide-ranging international practical guide for implementing the UNGPs into the practice of business law worldwide.  It was drafted by a team of international legal experts, following nearly two years of research and consultation.  It was endorsed by all of the nearly 200 international bar associations and law societies that comprise the IBA, which has over 70,000 individual members.

9.    John F. Sherman, III, The General Counsel as Partner in Shaping a Corporate Culture That Respects Human Rights, Harvard Kennedy School Working Paper No. 74 (June 2020). This is a draft of a paper to be published by the Legal Ethics Journal in 2021, and does a deep dive into what respecting human rights means for the corporate general counsel, both as a senior member of executive management and as director of the company’s legal services. 

Entry C:  Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930

Edited by Charity Ryerson

Section 307 of the Tariff Act of 1930 provides that goods made in whole or in part with the use of forced labor, including forced child labor, may be prohibited from being imported into the United States.  The following documents provide an introduction to the Act and the role of US Customs and Border Protection in enforcing it:

1.     International Labor Rights Form, Briefing Paper, Combatting Forced Labor and Enforcing Workers’ Rights Using the Tariff Act, (February 2020).

This briefing paper provides an overview of the history of Section 307, discusses some of the difficulties of enforcement, and provides recommendations for how enforcement of Section 307 could be strengthened.

2.     The Human Trafficking Legal Center, Importing Freedom: Using the U.S. Tariff Act to Combat Forced Labor in Supply Chains (June 2020).  This guide provides advocates with information on how to effectively use Section 307 of the Tariff Act. The guide provides an overview of the core components of a petition and includes a suggested submission template and intake questionnaire.

3.     Official Website of the Department of Homeland Security - Customs and Border Protection.  This website provides data on active Withhold Release Orders, findings, the number of shipments detained, and recent press coverage of CBP actions. It also provides contact information and instructions for e-submission of petitions.

4.     The Human Trafficking Legal Center, Template for Submissions Alleging Forced Labor under Section 307 of the U.S. Tariff Act of 1030 (2020).  This template provides advocates with a guide for submitting 307 petitions to Customs and Border Protection. It provides advocates with guidelines about how to write a petition and what information should be included.

5.    Corporate Accountability Lab and International Rights Advocates, Petition to exclude cocoa produced in Cote D’Ivoire, etc. (February 2020).  Corporate Accountability Lab and International Rights Advocates submitted this petition to Customs and Border Protection in February 2020, requesting that CBP issue a Withhold Release Order (WRO) against cocoa produced with forced child labor in Cote d'Ivoire. The petition requested that CBP require all listed importers to provide information within 180 days that the cocoa being imported into the US had not been produced with forced child labor.

6.    Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility, on behalf of AFL-CIO, et al.,  Petition under 19 U.S.C. §1307 concerning the Xinjiang Uyghur Autonomous Region of China (August 28, 2020).  Ten organizations submitted a petition under Section 307 of the Tariff Act to Customs and Border Protection in August 2020, requesting that CBP issue a Withhold Release Order against all cotton and cotton-made products from the Xinjiang Autonomous Uighur Region in China. This petition was based on credible evidence that Uighur and other Turkic and Muslim minorities are being forced to work in internment centers and prisons to produce cotton and cotton products. The petition resulted in several limited WROs in 2020, and a broad regional WRO in January 2021.

Entry D.    Third-Party Rights as Key to Enforcement of Human Rights Provisions in Supply Chain Contracts

Edited by Charity Ryerson

Although it has become customary for multinational corporations (MNCs) to include provisions in their supply contracts that require sellers to comply with human rights norms, there is growing awareness that few MNCs or their suppliers are actually taking steps to enforce those provisions.  The following documents present the case for including third-party beneficiary provisions in supply contracts so that workers and other affected persons may have the right to enforce those provision in court, thereby obtaining damages, injunctions and other forms of relief.

1.     Avery Kelly, Bettina Braun and Charity Ryerson, Worker-Enforceable Supplier Codes of Conduct as a Tool for Access to Justice, Global Labor Rights Reporter, Vol. 1, Issue 1 (2021).  This article examines how third-party beneficiary rights have been used in supply chain contracts, both through implication and the use of express clauses establishing those rights, to provide workers and others harmed in global supply chains legal rights to sue supply chain actors.  

2.    James Gathii, Incorporating the Third-Party Beneficiary Principle in Natural Resource Contracts, 43 GA. J. INT’L & COMP. L. 90 (2014).  In this article, Prof. Gathii argues for the implementation of the third-party beneficiary principle into natural resource contracts, recognizing that communities in low-income, resource rich countries need standing to sue on extractive contracts when companies harm human rights. The article contextualizes the need for third-party beneficiary rights of community members with respect to natural resource contracts; traces the history of third-party beneficiary law; argues that the third-party beneficiary concept should be incorporated into natural resource agreements to further the intent of the parties and for public policy reasons; and responds to counter-arguments. 

3.    Debra Cohen Maryanov, Sweatshop Liability: Corporate Codes of Conduct and the Governance of Labor Standards in the International Supply Chain, 14 Lewis & Clark L. Rev. 397 (2010).  Maryanov's argument in this article is that the main MNC response to public outcry around human rights violations in supply chains -- voluntary codes of conduct and the way they are implemented -- allow MNCs to shield themselves from liability.  However, she also explores some legal theories that could hold corporations accountable when they don't uphold or enforce their codes of conduct, including the third-party beneficiary theory (on pages 432-435).  In the sub-section on third-party beneficiaries, Maryanov cites Doe I v. Wal-Mart Stores, Inc., 572 F.3d 677 (9th Cir. 2009) and a Tenth Circuit case that could lead to a different outcome in a case where workers in an MNC supply chain sue the MNC to enforce contract terms as third-party beneficiaries. (Note that this article is 11 years old but still relevant.) 

4.    Allie Robbins, Outsourcing Beneficiaries: Contract and Tort Strategies for Improving Conditions in the Global Garment Industry, 370 Univ. Pittsburg L. Rev. 80 (2018).  In this article, Prof. Robbins surveys post-Jesner cases in which plaintiffs attempt to hold corporations liable for human rights abuses in supply chains post-Jesner. She argues for a way forward through the third-party beneficiary doctrine. Robbins cites a Wisconsin state court case in which a university sued Adidas for not paying severance to workers in its supply chain in accordance with a University of Wisconsin licensing agreement.  A union representing 75% at a factory producing for Adidas intervened claiming that the workers it represented were third-party beneficiaries of the contract between the university and Adidas. The parties settled before the court rendered a decision on that issue. 

5.    Jonathan Lipson, Promising Justice: Contract (as) Social Responsibility, Wisc. L. Rev. 5 (2019).  In this article, Prof. Lipson discusses advantages and disadvantages of a contract strategy for human rights protection-- what he calls "contract social responsibility" or "KSR." This article is relevant in its analysis of the contractualization of human rights protections but does not discuss third-party beneficiary rights to sue either of the contracting parties. 

Entry E.  Legislative Developments in the European Union Involving Mandated Business and Human Rights Due Diligence

Edited by Martijn Scheltema

The European Commission, at the urging of Justice Commissioner Didier Reynders, has set in motion an effort to develop EU legislation aimed at putting in place EU-wide requirements for the performance of human rights due diligence by businesses. The legislation could take the form of regulations (directly enforceable by the EU) or a directive (requiring further member state action).  In either case, the formal proposal must first be approved by the Commission and then submitted to both the European Parliament and the EU Council of Minister for final approval. 

No authoritative draft of the new legislation has emerged from the Commission itself as of his writing.  However, as shown below, a number of papers containing suggestions and recommendations have emerged from the early stages of the process, along with considerable discussion of the issues. These papers generally suggest that businesses of all types and sizes be required to adopt due diligence programs along the lines depicted by the UN Guiding Principles that extend throughout their supply chains and value chains and apply to all internationally recognized human rights.  They also suggest that there be strong monitoring and enforcement programs put in place, backed by criminal, civil and administrative penalties and that victims be allowed access to the courts of member states to seek justice. However, to date enforcement of existing regulation in the EU in the field is considered to be weak to say the least. Some member states or urging the commission to implement a new approach based on best practices, so called dynamic supervision.  

The reader is urged to examine the following papers: 

1.    Lisa Smit, et al., Study on Due Diligence Requirements through the Supply Chain (European Commission, January 2020).  The European Commission engaged the authors-- recognized experts in international humanitarian law—to perform this study.  Their work involved an extensive EU and worldwide survey of businesses, NGOs, academics and regulators on current practices and stakeholder attitudes regarding human rights and environmental due diligence in supply chains.   Notably, the survey reveals a general consensus that existing regulatory requirements are inadequate for the protection of human rights and the environment in global supply chains and the authors recommend a wide range of possible regulatory options for consideration by the Commission. 

2.    European Parliament, Resolution of 10 March 2021 (2020/2129(INL)).  The European Parliament has passed a resolution containing its comprehensive suggestions for the new due diligence legislation.  The resolution signals that the globalisation of economic activity has aggravated adverse impacts of business activities on human rights, including social and labour rights, the environment and the good governance of states and human rights violations often occur at primary production level. It emphasises that undertakings should respect human rights which include rights to an effective remedy but observes only 37% of business currently conducts human rights due diligence. It urges the European Commission to strengthen supply chain traceability and to develop a broad mandatory due diligence framework.  An annex contains suggested language for the new legislation.

3.    UN Working Group on the Issue of Human Rights and Transnational Corporations and Other Business Enterprises, Letter to Didier Reynders, EU Commissioner for Justice (October 22, 2020).  The recommendations of the UN Working Group emphasize the need to ground the upcoming EU legislation on UN Guiding Principles and point out in detail how requirements such as those mentioned above would accomplish that end.   

4.    Cees van Dam, et al., Options for Enforceable International Responsible Business Conduct, chapter 6.  Elaboration of a new type of public supervision. Dynamic supervision is based on existing best practices in markets which have at least partially matured. It is dynamic as these best practices are not fixed but change over time.

Entry F.  Tort Liability of Business for Transnational Human Rights Abuses

Edited by Douglass Cassel

Although corporate tort liability for transnational human rights abuses has occupied courts in North America and Europe for a quarter of a century, recent trends outside the U.S. suggest an increasing likelihood of companies being held to a duty of care to persons affected by the operations of their foreign subsidiaries.

In the United States, a series of suits were filed against companies in the mid-1990’s under the Alien Tort Statute (ATS).  One well-known early case, Doe v Unocal, 395 F. 3d 932 (9th Cir. 2002), rehearing en banc ordered, 395 F. 3d 978 (2003), involved Unocal’s alleged responsibility for forced labor, murder and rape committed by the Myanmar army while providing security for construction of a gas pipeline owned by a joint venture of which Unocal was part.  The case was later settled for an undisclosed sum.

However, in Kiobel v Royal Dutch Petroleum Co., 569 U.S. 108 (2013), the Supreme Court effectively shut down most such cases.  The Court ruled that federal courts have no jurisdiction under the ATS to adjudicate human rights abuses committed outside the U.S., except where the case “touches and concerns” the U.S. sufficiently to displace the presumption against extraterritoriality.  In Jesner v. Arab Bank, 138 S. Ct. 1386, (2018), the Court held that foreign corporations cannot be sued under the ATS.  In Nestle v. Doe and Cargill v. Doe, consolidated nos. 19-416 and 19-453, argued December 1, 2020, the Court is presently considering whether U.S. corporations (as opposed to corporate executives) can be sued under the ATS, even where sufficient tortious conduct allegedly took place in the U.S.

In contrast to this retreat in the U.S., potential corporate tort liability for transnational human rights abuses has recently been expanded by the Supreme Courts of Britain and Canada, and by courts of appeals in Germany and The Netherlands. 

In a British suit brought by persons living near a copper mine in Zambia, the U.K. Supreme Court held in 2019 in Vedanta v. Lungowe [2019] UKSC 20 that a British multinational company and its Zambian subsidiary could both be sued in the U.K. for alleged human rights abuses at the subsidiary’s mine.  The case was recently settled on undisclosed terms.  On a jurisdictional appeal in Okpabi v. Shell [2021] UKSC 3, the Court reaffirmed Vedanta and again held that a parent company may owe a duty of care to persons affected by the operations of its foreign subsidiary.  Liability need not turn on formalities of separate corporate identity, but may depend on business realities, such as whether the parent shares de facto management of the activity at issue (in Okpabi, pipeline safety) with its subsidiary.

In 2020 the Canadian Supreme Court held in Nevsun Resources Ltd. v. Iraya, 2020 SCC 5 that it is not “plain and obvious” that international law grants corporations “blanket immunity” from direct liability for violations of “obligatory, definable and universal violations of international law,” or from indirect liability for complicity.  The suit was brought by workers at a gold and minerals mine in Eritrea owned jointly by a Nevsun subsidiary and by the government of Eritrea.  The workers were allegedly subjected to forced labor, slavery, crimes against humanity, and to cruel, inhuman and degrading treatment.  The Court remanded for a determination of whether these human rights norms bind corporations and, if so, whether a damages remedy should be based on customary international law as part of the common law, or on some new or existing tort.

In Germany, an appeals court in 2017 allowed a suit brought by a Peruvian farmer to proceed against a large Germany electric utility for contributing to global warming. Lliuya v. RWE AG, Case No. 2-O-28515, Regional Court of Hamm.  The farmer alleged that greenhouse gas emissions by the utility contributed to melting of glaciers in the Andes, threatening his farm in Peru.

In The Netherlands, Nigerian farmers and the Dutch chapter of Friends of the Earth sued Shell and its Nigerian subsidiary for harm caused by an oil spill in Nigeria.  Under conflict of law rules, the Hague Court of Appeal in 2021 applied the UK Supreme Court decision in VedantaOguru and Efanga v. SPDC and Royal Dutch Shell, ECLI: NL: GHDHA: 2021: 132 (Jan. 29, 2021). The Court held that a parent company (Shell) may owe a duty of care to community residents affected by the operations of its foreign subsidiary.  Although not ordering Shell immediately to pay damages, the Court ordered Shell to install a leak detection system on a pipeline within one year, or else to pay the claimants a penalty of 100,000 euros per day.

None of these cases has yet resulted in a final judicial determination of transnational corporate liability in tort for human rights abuses. However, they suggest a trend which could soon lead to a company being held liable in tort.

For further analysis, articles and commentaries by Professor Cassel are linked below.  (Views expressed represent only his personal views.)

1.     Douglass Cassel, UK Supreme Court in Okpabi Clarifies Parent Company Duty of Care Toward Persons Allegedly Harmed by Subsidiaries, Business & Human Rights Resource Centre, February 2021.

2.    Douglass Cassel, Suing Corporations under International Human Rights Law, New York Law Journal, March 19, 2020. (Discussing Nevsun v. Iraya; Canadian Supreme Court, 020 SCC 5).

3.     Douglass Cassel, Vedanta v. Lungowe Symposium: Beyond Vedanta: Reconciling Tort Law with International Human Rights NormsOpinioJuris, April 19, 2019.

4.     Douglass Cassel, Outlining the Case for a Common Law Duty of Care of Business to Exercise Human Rights Due Diligence, 1 Business and Human Rights Journal 179-202 (2016).  Fee or subscription required to access.

5.    Douglass Cassel, Suing Americans for Human Rights Torts Overseas: The Supreme Court Leaves the Door Open89 Notre Dame Law Review 1773-1812 (2014).

6.    Douglass Cassel, Corporate Aiding and Abetting of Human Rights Violations: Confusion in the Courts, 6 Northwestern Journal of International Human Rights 304-26 (2008).

Entry G.  United Nations Treaty on Business and Human Rights

Edited by Douglass Cassel

Following a resolution of the UN Human Rights Council in 2014, an Intergovernmental Working Group chaired by Ecuador’s Ambassador to the UN in Geneva has met annually to draft a proposed treaty on business and human rights.  The instrument has been through three drafts; a fourth draft is expected by August of 2021. 

Diplomatic prospects for the treaty are highly uncertain.  Serious engagement by UN member States has been scant.  The United States has to date opposed and boycotted the process.  The European Union has deferred taking a substantive position, at least until its internal procedure to develop a potential directive on mandatory human rights due diligence is clarified.  The UN Africa Group supports a treaty in principle but has said little about its content.  Despite some support in principle, most Asian and Latin American States remain non-committal.

On the other hand, the treaty process is enthusiastically supported by over a thousand human rights groups and civil society organizations globally.  They contend that the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, adopted by the Human Rights Council in 2011, and which do not legally bind business enterprises, have proved inadequate in practice either to prevent or to remedy business-related human rights abuses.

The ABA has endorsed the UN Guiding Principles.  However, neither the ABA nor its Center for Human Rights has taken a position on the proposed treaty.  Together with the Law Society of England and Wales, the Center in 2015 commissioned a White Paper on Options for a Treaty on Business and Human Rights,­ prepared by Professor Douglass Cassel of Notre Dame Law School and Anita Ramasastry of the University of Washington School of Law.  (See link below.)  (Views expressed in the White Paper are those of the authors.)

Second, on behalf of the Center, Professor Cassel has monitored the treaty process, attending the annual meetings of the Intergovernmental Working Group and reporting to the Center’s advisory committee on business and human rights.  His periodic commentaries, expressing only his personal views, are linked below.

The articles and commentaries linked below are authored or co-authored by Douglass Cassel or Anita Ramasastry.  Additional documents and commentaries will be posted in the near future.

1.    Douglass Cassel and Anita Ramasastry, White Paper: Options for a Treaty on Business and Human Rights, 6 Notre Dame J. Int’l & Comp. Law, Issue. 1, Art. 1 (2015).

2.    Douglass Cassel, Progress in the Newest UN Draft Treaty on Business and Human Rights, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (August 25, 2020).

3.    Douglass Cassel, Five ways the new draft treaty on business and human rights can be strengthened, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (Septenber 9, 2019).

4.    Douglass Cassel, Ecuador’s Revised Draft Treaty: Getting Down to Business, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (September 3, 2019).

5.    Douglass Cassel, Book Review, Building a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Context and Contours, Surya Deva and David Bilchitz, eds., Cambridge University Press, 2017, 41 Human Rights Quarterly 497-547 (2019) (requires fee or journal subscription).

6.      Douglass Cassel, Draft UN treaty on business & human rights focuses on prevention & remedy while ensuring state control of its implementationBusiness and Human Rights Resource CentreAugust 2, 2018.

7.     The Third Session of the UN Intergovernmental Working Group on a Business and Human Rights Treaty, 3 Business and Human Rights Journal 277-283 (2018) (requires fee or journal subscription).

8.    Douglass Cassel, Ecuador’s Proposed Elements of a Treaty on Business and Human Rights: Off to a Good Start, Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (October 22, 2017).

9.    Douglass Cassel, Treaty Process Gets Underway: Whoever Said It Would Be Easy?blog post for Business and Human Rights Resource Centre (July 12, 2015).

10.    Douglass Cassel and Anita Ramasastry, Anatomy of a business and human rights treaty, Institute of Human Rights and Business (June 25, 2015). 


 A.    The Editorial Board

Brian Burkett is a Canadian labour, employment and human rights practitioner. His practice, since the passage of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGP) in 2011 has increasingly focused on international and domestic developments in respect of the application of human rights to business activities. Brian is counsel to the Canadian Employers Council (CEC), the official "voice" of Canadian business, on the international stage, in relation to the world of work and global workplaces. He is a member of the Executive Committee of the Canadian Labour Law Association (CLLA), an associate editor of the Canadian Labour and Employment Law Journal, and a member of the International Association of Labour Law Journals. He sits on the Advisory Board of the Centre for Industrial Relations and Human Resources (CIRHR) at the University of Toronto where he is an adjunct professor and co-teaches the course on "International Developments in Labour and Human Resource Policy".

Douglass Cassel is Emeritus Professor of Law and Notre Dame Presidential Fellow Emeritus at Notre Dame Law School.  Until retiring in 2018, he taught international law and international human rights law, including courses on transnational corporations and human rights. He is currently counsel on matters of business and human rights at a global law firm.

Claes Cronstedt is member of the Swedish bar and a former international partner of Baker & McKenzie. He has been involved in international human rights litigation, in particular the Raoul Wallenberg Case against the USSR.  From 2001 to 2014 he was a member of the CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) Committee of the Council of Bars and Law Societies of Europe (CCBE).  He was a member of the Swedish Committee of the International Chamber of Commerce (ICC) Commission on Business in Society (2001-2004) and a trustee of International Alert, London, working with peaceful transformation of violent conflicts (1999-2006). In 2006-2008 he was a member of the International Commission of Jurists’ Expert Legal Panel on Corporate Complicity in International Crimes.  He is the founder of the Raoul Wallenberg Academy for Young Leaders.  He is a member of the Gaemo Group, Corporate Responsibility International.

Elise Groulx Diggs is an international lawyer and mediator (IMI) practicing in the field of Business and Human Rights for the last decade. Elise is a member of the Paris Bar and of the Québec Bar. She is a licensed legal consultant at the New York Bar. She is an Associate Tenant, Doughty Street Chambers, (London) and Principal, BI for Business Integrity & Partners (Washington, DC). She helped established the ABA Center for Human Rights Advisory Board Business & Human Rights Project in 2013 and has been its Convenor since. She is also the Chair of the IBA Business and Human Rights Committee and is Co-Director of the Program for Lawyers in Business and Human Rights at Georgetown University Law Center.  Elise co-authored 3 major articles in Business and Human Rights since 2018, including the article appearing in Entry A, above.

Charity Ryerson is the Executive Director and Founder of Corporate Accountability Lab, where she and her team of attorneys use legal design tools to improve access to remedy for victims of corporate human rights abuse. Her experience includes litigating complex international human rights cases under the Alien Tort Statute, Torture Victim Protection Act and state tort law, labor and human rights monitoring, anti-union violence investigations, and support for labor organizing in Central and South America. Charity graduated cum laude from Georgetown Law and is licensed to practice in D.C. and Illinois.

Martijn W. Scheltema is a partner and chair of the Business Human Rights Practice group of Pels Rijcken (a Dutch law firm), professor at Erasmus University Rotterdam (the Netherlands) and chair of the dispute resolution body of the Dutch International Responsible Business Conduct Agreements in the Textile and Natural Stone sector. 

John F. Sherman, III has been a Senior Program Fellow at the Corporate Responsibility Initiative of the Center for Business and Government at the Harvard Kennedy School since 2008.  He has been General Counsel and Senior Adviser to the independent nonprofit Shift, the leading center on implementation of the UNGPs, since 2011.  He was senior legal advisor to Prof. John Ruggie, former Special Representative of the UN Secretary General on Business and Human Rights, and helped him shape and draft the UNGPs.  He has authored nearly twenty articles, book chapters, and papers on business and human rights, and has lectured dozens of times on the subject to businesses, trade associations, multistakeholder initiatives, law firms, legal departments, and law schools  He retired from National Grid as its deputy general counsel in 2008, with high level leadership responsibilities for litigation, environmental, health, and safety, business ethics and compliance, risk management, and corporate responsibility.

Robert C. Thompson is a member of the California bar, a former Associate General Counsel of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency and a former partner of LeBoeuf, Lamb, Greene & MacRae LLP, where he was the chairman of the firm’s international environment, health and safety practice.  Following his retirement in 1999, he has been active in human rights research and writing.  He is a co-author of four articles on human rights topics, including one appearing in Entry A, above.