Developing a Collaborative Approach to Human Rights Impact Assessments

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CCSI, the Sciences Po Law School Clinic, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights have developed a collaborative approach to human rights impact assessments (HRIAs) of private sector investment projects. HRIAs have become increasingly prominent in recent years, particularly as companies focus on conducting human rights due diligence and communities seek to better understand the actual or potential impacts of business activities on their lives and livelihoods. Yet one specific challenge that has been identified is the frequent lack of trust between communities and companies, which often extends to distrust of HRIAs that “the other side” has initiated, rendering the results highly contentious and potentially ineffective. This discussion paper sets out a robust model for a collaborative approach to HRIAs that involves project-affected people and the company, and potentially other stakeholders such as the host government, in jointly undertaking an HRIA that is considered credible by all sides and can help to address the power imbalances that often exist between companies and communities around private sector projects.

Following the publication of the discussion paper in March 2017, CCSI, the Sciences Po Law School Clinic, and the Danish Institute for Human Rights are now seeking to identify opportunities to pilot this approach.

The discussion paper was developed after extensive research, supported in part by The Tiffany & Co. Foundation. More information about the paper and research is available in this press release. The project builds on a roundtable organized in April 2014 by CCSI and the Sciences Po Law School Clinic, which focused on the opportunities and challenges presented by HRIAs of large-scale foreign investments. More information about the 2014 roundtable, as well as its outcome document, can be found here.

The short video below features interviews with stakeholders working on HRIAs regarding the challenges of current HRIA practices and the potential benefits of a collaborative approach to HRIAs.

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