GeSI Good Practice Guide on Remedy Human Rights Impacts

Responding to the UN Guiding Principles Expectations to Remedy Human Rights Impacts

A core pillar of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) is remedy. The UNGPs expect companies to provide access to remedy for victims of business-related abuses. 
Remedy is defined as restoring “individuals or groups that have been harmed – in this case by a business’s activities – to the situation they would have been in had the impact not occurred. Where this is not possible, it can involve compensation or other forms of remedy. 
Specific remedies can include: “apologies, restitution, rehabilitation, financial or non-financial compensation, and punitive sanctions (whether criminal or administrative, such as fines), as well the prevention of harm through, for example, injunctions or guarantees of non-repetition. 
The products and services provided by the global information and communication technology (ICT) industry can and do deliver great value in respecting and protecting human rights. At the same time, these products and services, if used incorrectly or abused, can compromise human rights. 
Companies and NGOs debate the boundaries of a company’s obligations to provide remedy. The UNGPs appear to provide conflicting guidance. Text in the UNGPs suggest that companies should not be accountable for the behaviors of their “business relationships” including suppliers and product users. Other text implies that a company’s obligations should extend to these kinds of business relationships. This leaves companies in a position to negotiate their obligations in a continuous way with stakeholders. 
A Remedy Roadmap for GeSI Members to consider includes the following: 

  1. Establish processes to enable stakeholders to raise and resolve grievances;
  2. Determine the severity of impacts affecting rights-holders;
  3. Develop processes for resolution (i.e., to enable the remediation of any adverse human rights impacts the company causes or to which it contributes);
  4. Review and improve.

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