The role of civil society and human rights defenders in corporate accountability

Book chapter


Birchall, D. (2020). The role of civil society and human rights defenders in corporate accountability. in: Birchall, D. and Deva, S. (ed.) Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business Edward Elgar.
AuthorsBirchall, D.
EditorsBirchall, D. and Deva, S.
Abstract

This chapter reviews the role of civil society and human rights defenders in holding corporations to account. Civil society plays numerous roles in corporate accountability. It is civil society that is often first to take heed of a situation, first on the ground, and first to expose the issue to the wider public. The mobilization of civil society therefore often foreshadows shifts in both legal and business practices. Civil society uses a wide variety of tactics, from engagement in multistakeholder regulation and intracorporate consultancy and collaboration, through to exposing wrongdoing and organizing protests. The chapter takes a broad understanding of the definition of civil society, allowing it to introduce a range of actors including, inter alia, benchmarking organizations, labour movements, public interest law groups and shareholder activists. Human rights defenders are viewed more narrowly to focus on those at the dangerous frontlines of human rights protection. Case studies of Pavel Sulyandziga in Russia and Berta Cáceres in Honduras are used to demonstrate the evident risks from both state and private sector actors. The chapter also discusses some of the tactics business uses to weaken civil society participation, and concludes with a discussion of the rationales and possibilities for more positive engagement by businesses in protecting the protectors of human rights.

Year2020
Book titleResearch Handbook on Human Rights and Business
PublisherEdward Elgar
File
Publication dates
Print08 Jul 2020
Publication process dates
Deposited23 Sep 2021
Digital Object Identifier (DOI)https://doi.org/10.4337/9781786436405.00030
Additional information

This is a draft chapter. The final version is available in Research Handbook on Human Rights and Business edited by Surya Deva and David Birchall, published in 20xx, Edward Elgar Publishing Ltd
http://dx.doi.org/10.4337/9781786436405

The material cannot be used for any other purpose without further permission of the publisher, and is for private use only

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