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When national law conflicts with international human rights standards

Lise Smit

The first research supported by the Bingham Centre's Business Network examines how companies can adhere to international human rights standards, as described in the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights, when faced with contradictory domestic laws or practices.

The research brought together the international legal framework, existing guidance for specific issues or sectors, and practical examples for businesses. The research methodology included semi-structured conversations and interviews with Business Network members and other business representatives. A wide range of sectors were represented, including agriculture, electronics, energy, extractives, financial, food and consumables, internet service providers, manufacturing, retail, and telecommunications.

Project Report

The report categorises the different types of conflicts businesses may face and provides practical guidance on how to address conflicts within a Human Rights Due Diligence (HRDD) framework. By undertaking HRDD, companies can identify the possible human rights impacts of the national law or practice, try to mitigate the consequences, and are better able to account for their activities.

The report was launched in May 2018 at an event at the BT Tower. Speakers at the event included Moira Oliver, Chief Counsel and Head of Policy at BT and Sylvia White, General Counsel, Gardaworld International.

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