In June 2011 the UN Human Rights Council endorsed "Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights: Implementing the United Nations 'Protect, Respect and Remedy' Framework" proposed by UN Special Representative John Ruggie. Key features of this document are the duty of states to protect the human rights of those in contact with businesses; the corporate responsibility towards respecting human rights throughout their activities; and the need to ensure access to remedies when abuses take place.
A delegation of lawyers, organised by the Alliance for Lawyers at Risk, carried out a fact-finding mission in August 2012, to investigate the impact of this framework in Colombia.
The report of the mission was launched at The Law Society on 27 February 2013. The event was chaired by Professor Sara Chandler, Chair of Law Society Human Rights Committee, with Michael Mansfield QC as key-note speaker.
Neena Acharya, Maitland Chambers’ Mark Cunningham QC and Deighton Pierce Glynn’s Sue Willman reported on the findings of the mission; in particular the views and experiences of Indigenous groups, Afro-Colombians, lawyers and human rights defenders, and discussion focussed around what law-makers and politicians in the UK can do to promote the implementation of the Ruggie Principles and how UK lawyers can help victims to access remedies when violations take place.