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Business & Human Rights programme

The Business & Human Rights programme focuses on human rights issues relevant to corporate actors operating in our focal region, encompassing also environmental, social and governance (ESG) and corporate social responsibility (CSR) matters. The last two decades in particular have seen increasing attention on the capacity of business actors to undermine human rights enjoyment and contribute to conflict and inequality in developing and fragile states. It has also nevertheless seen recognition of the role of these actors in supporting peace, development and good governance in such countries. The Great Lakes Region is one in which some notable efforts have been made to address the adverse impacts of business activities on conflict, human rights and good governance, particularly in the extractives sector.

Our work under the Business & Human Rights programme comprises:

  • demand-driven research on business and human rights issues for NGOs, intergovernmental organisations, governments and the private sector;
  • capacity building on issues directly or indirectly involving business and human rights (for further see Capacity Building); and
  • consultancy assistance on matters pertaining to business and human rights issues affecting our focal region, including the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, due diligence in conflict affected and high risk areas, human rights impact assessments, responsible sourcing/supply chain management etc.

Our researchers have a background in business and human rights and a high awareness of current and on-going debates in this area, as well as related initiatives. Their practical and theoretical understanding of business and human rights in both a regulatory and voluntary context is enhanced by their involvement in the multi-disciplinary work of IPIS more broadly. This ensures that our staff have a high level of awareness of the potential complexities and challenges surrounding the management of supply chain impacts as well as having some insight into how efforts (or failure) to manage such impacts can be experienced by communities and individuals on the ground.