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Leading human rights lawyer panellist on UN working group

Richard Meeran invited to address UN working group on a treaty on business and human rights

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27 October 2016

Leigh Day human rights partner Richard Meeran is speaking as a panellist at the second session of the United Nations Intergovernmental Working Group on transnational corporations and other business enterprises with respect to human rights.
The Working Group was mandated by a UN Human Rights Council Resolution in June 2014 to elaborate on an internationally legally binding instrument on business and human rights. This followed in the wake of the adoption by the UN in 2011 of the UN Guiding Principles on business and human rights. The UNGPs have been endorsed by the U.K. Government.

The first session (at which Mr Meeran also spoke) was held at the UN in July 2015.

The second session, held on 26 October, considered national law standards of civil liability for human rights abuses applicable to multi-national corporation (MNC) parent companies.

Mr Meeran outlined the considerable progress that had been made in tort cases run by Leigh Day over the past 20 years to develop English law on the liability of multinational companies for human rights violations in developing countries. He recommended that any treaty should include similar provisions based on the human rights due diligence duty imposed on business under the UN GPs.

Mr Meeran said:

“Legal accountability in the home states of MNC is critical is justice is to be secured for the people who are injured, or who suffer economic loss, because of the actions of MNC.
“The tort law approach is a powerful mechanism for achieving legal accountability of MNCs as demonstrated by the cases against Cape Plc, Shell (Nigeria), Trafigura (Cote D'Ivoire) and Anglo American (South African gold miners with silicosis)"
On 27 October Mr Meeran will speak on the relation between the UN Guiding Principles, and the elaboration of an internationally binding legal instrument on trans-national corporations (TNCs).

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