Among the critical issues arising from the interaction of human rights and investment law is whether and how the international investment regime creates or exacerbates barriers to effective remedy for individuals and communities affected by investment projects. Criticisms of the human rights impacts of the international investment regime have generally focused on the regime’s implications for the right, or indeed the duty, of states to regulate. By contrast, implications of international investment agreements (IIAs) and investor-state dispute settlement (ISDS) for states’ human rights obligations to provide effective remedy have received lesser consideration in dialogue on reform of the investment regime and improvement of human rights enforcement mechanisms.
To explore this issue, CCSI, together with the UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights and the Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy (an initiative of the Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science), co-organized a session at the 2017 UN Forum on Business and Human Rights. Building on discussions that took place at an invitation-only roundtable in October 2017 (co-organized by CCSI and the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights), the side session sought to:
Identify and raise awareness about the specific impacts of the international investment regime on access to effective remedy for affected communities whose rights have been violated by large-scale investment projects, including by means of (a) reference to case studies and (b) providing an opportunity for participants to voice their own insights and experiences in this context;
Assess whether and how existing proposals for improvement of the human rights regime address the investment regime’s impacts on access to remedy for rights-holders, or whether additional reforms or improvements are needed; and
Present and obtain feedback on the findings from the October 2017 roundtable discussion.
Kaitlin Cordes, Columbia Center on Sustainable Investment
Andrea Saldarriaga, Laboratory for Advanced Research on the Global Economy, Centre for the Study of Human Rights at the London School of Economics and Political Science
Victoria Tauli-Corpuz, UN Special Rapporteur on the rights of indigenous peoples
Elisabeth Tuerk, International Investment Agreements Section, Division on Investment and Enterprise, UNCTAD
Cristóbal Yugra Villanueva, Derechos Humanos y Medio Ambiente – Puno (DHUMA)
Surya Deva, UN Working Group on Business & Human Rights
For further information about the Forum, see here.
The roundtable and Forum events form part of CCSI’s broader efforts to develop a strategy to support policymakers and other stakeholders in better assessing and addressing the impacts of IIAs and ISDS on access to justice for investment-affected individuals and communities.