Since many years, BIM works successfully in the area of Human Rights in Development Cooperation and Business, both conceptually and in practice. Both fields have in common that human rights need to be “translated” to be understood and operationalised. This approach is often called the “added value” of human rights, or, if taken in more depth, a “Human Rights -based Approach”. As these areas are very distinct and specific, a human rights-based approach must be contextualised to meet the objectives and interests of the various actors in these areas.
Both fields have experienced dynamic developments in recent years. For example, companies have been identified as potential new “duty-bearers” of human rights, meaning that they have the responsibility to respect and fulfil human rights in their sphere of influence, complementary to states which are the primary duty-bearers. In development cooperation, a growing number of actors follow a human rights-based approach to development as an effective and universally legitimised means to reach the overall aim of poverty reduction.
BIM offers advice and support on the practical application of a human rights-based approach to development cooperation and business.
Our activities at one glance:
More details on these activities can be found in the specific thematic areas.
In recent years, companies have faced ever-growing scrutiny of their human rights conduct. Some of them have been confronted with grave human rights allegations that led to years of litigation and public campaigns. The remedies for instances of corporate human rights violations have remained insufficient, however.
The adoption of Uruguay of the Optional Protocol to the UN Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights paves the way for a complaint procedure for individuals who allege that their human rights have been violated. They can now appeal to the United Nations after having exhausted all national channels of appeal. The complaint procedure will come into force on May 5th 2013.
"CSR - HR = PR" This formula highlights the relevance of sensible human resource management for a comprehensive CSR strategy. Therefore, CSR and human resources is one of the key topics of the Austrian UN Global Compact network for this year, and it will be the motto of the 1st Global Compact General Meeting on 20 February 2013; featuring a keynote adress by Elaine Cohen (international expert on the subject), and smaller group discussions on certain issue areas including "Human Resources and Human Rights", conducted by Astrid Steinkellner (BIM).
In November 2012 the OeKB was awarded the Austrian Sustainability Reporting Award (ASRA), coming third place in the category of large companies. In its explanation giving the reasons for receiving the award, the jury highlighted that OeKB’s Sustainability Report 2011 had put a special focus on the issue of human rights. According to DI Dr.
by Karin Lukas and Astrid Steinkellner (Assistance: Gabriel Thurner)
Corporations in Conflict Regions
INEF Forschungsreihe Menschenrechte, Unternehmensverantwortung und Nachhaltige Entwicklung 12/2012
A large number of human rights violations with the participation of companies take place in conflict regions without functioning state structures. This study examines the negative effects of company activities in such settings as well as the possible measures companies should take to mitigate these effects. The role of companies as potential “problem solvers” will be analysed as well.