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Human Rights in Development Cooperation and Business

For many years, BIM has worked successfully in the area of Human Rights in Development Cooperation and Business, both conceptually and in practice. In both fields 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:

  • Consultancies
  • Research and publications
  • Lectures and workshops
  • Implementation of projects
  • Monitoring
  • Audits

More details on these activities can be found in the specific thematic areas.

More Human Rights in the Rare Minerals Supply Chain: Duty of Care – Trade Policy – Public Procurement

More Human Rights in the Rare Minerals Supply Chain: Duty of Care – Trade Policy –  Public Procurement

Rare minerals are key ingredients of industrial production. Their extraction is finite, but the demand for them rises constantly. The provision of rare minerals are high on the political agenda of the European Union and Austria. However, the extraction of such minerals is often connected with massive negative social and environmental consequences. The report  "More Human Rights in the Rare Minerals Supply Chain" analyses several mechanisms of human rights protection in minerals extraction.

International conference “The EU and Human Rights. Findings from the FRAME project”


With a high-rank conference at the Royal Flemish Academy of Belgium for Sciences and Arts in Brussels, the four-year EU research project FRAME celebrated its formal completion on 26 April 2017. Taking a broad approach, FRAME has analyzed the promotion of human rights in all areas of EU external and internal policies and has developed detailed policy recommendations.

Social Rights in the European Union and the European Social Charter

Karin Lukas, Vice-President of the European Committee of Social Rights, held a presentation on 8 March 2017 at the European Parliament. She discussed the protection of social rights in the EU and by the Social Charter and identified possible tensions. As an example, she talked about austerity measures in Greece and their impact on social rights. Watch now the video of the full panel discussion. Karin Lukas' presentation starts at 2:08.

Corporate Accountability - The Role and Impact of Non-Judicial Grievance Mechanisms

Cover Corporate Accountability

Whilst many of us would agree that human rights are more important than corporate profits, the reality is often different; such realities as child labour and environmental destruction caused by corporate activities make this patently clear. Recognising that balancing human rights and business interests can be problematic, Corporate Accountability considers the limits of existing complaint mechanisms and examines non-judicial alternatives for conflict resolution.

Statement on the draft amendment of the Austrian Commercial Code – Implementation of the EU Directive on Non-Financial Reporting

The Ludwig Boltzmann Institute of Human Rights submitted a statement concerning the draft amendments of the Austrian Commercial Act. By the amendments, the EU Directive on non-financial reporting should be implemented. Companies fulfilling certain criteria will have to publish non-financial reports. These reports also have to discuss measures of the company in relation to respect for human rights. BIM’s statement tackles the question to which extent suppliers have to be covered in the report.