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					A career in human rights law:
   working for the Special
  Representative of the UN
Secretary-General (SRSG) on
 Business and Human Rights
     Presented by Vanessa
 Zimmerman, Advisor to the SRSG
    10 APRIL 2008, MONASH
         UNIVERSITY
        PLAN FOR TODAY
   WHAT I DO NOW
   BUSINESS AND HUMAN RIGHTS IN
    AUSTRALIA
   HOW I GOT HERE
   TIPS FOR WORKING IN HUMAN
    RIGHTS LAW
             WHAT I DO NOW
   Advisor to Professor John Ruggie, Special
    Representative of the UN Secretary-General on
    Business and Human Rights;
   SRSG reports to the UN Secretary-General and
    the Human Rights Council;
   Appointed in 2005 in order to take the business
    and human rights debate forward after the
    Commission on Human Rights decided not to
    adopt the Sub-Commission’s “Norms on the
    Responsibilities of Transnational Corporations and
    Other Business Enterprises with Regard to
    Human Rights”;
   SRSG has a multi-faceted mandate covering
    various aspects of the business and human rights
    debate.
           The SRSG’s mandate
(a) “To identify and clarify standards of corporate responsibility and
   accountability for transnational corporations and other business
   enterprises with regard to human rights;

(b) To elaborate on the role of States in effectively regulating and
   adjudicating the role of transnational corporations and other
   business enterprises with regard to human rights, including
   through international cooperation;

(c) To research and clarify the implications for transnational
   corporations and other business enterprises of concepts such as
   “complicity” and “sphere of influence”;

(d) To develop materials and methodologies for undertaking human
   rights impact assessments of the activities of transnational
   corporations and other business enterprises;

(e) To compile a compendium of best practices of States and
   transnational corporations and other business enterprises..."
       SRSG’s reports to the Human
         Rights Council to date
   2006 Interim report: Designed to provide greater understanding of
    some of the real world situations in which corporate related human rights
    abuses take place; and to assess whether the draft Norms provided a
    viable framework for moving the mandate forward.

   2007 Report: Mapped various clusters of standards and practices that
    currently govern corporate responsibility in relation to human rights. It
    looked at:
     • State duty to protect;
     • Developments in international criminal law;
     • Developments in international human rights law;
     • Soft law standards and multi-stakeholder hybrid arrangements;
     • Voluntary or self-governance mechanisms by business.
     Main conclusion that there is no “single silver bullet” to resolve business
        and human rights challenges and that there was a need for strategic
        assessment of major legal and policy measures states and other social
        actors could take.

   2008 Report: Will be released in June 2008 – will propose views and
    recommendations to the Human Rights Council in accordance with the
    SRSG’s mandate.
    How the SRSG comes up with his
      views and recommendations
   Multi-stakeholder consultations – legal
    issues; regional focus; industry focus.
   Pro-bono assistance from law firms,
    including Allens Arthur Robinson.
   Submissions from all sides, including
    NGOs and business groups.
   Site visits to companies.
   Research and surveys by SRSG’s team.
    Helping the SRSG as an advisor
   Focus on the state duty to protect against
    corporate abuse, including research into how
    the duty is defined at the international level
    as well as work on developments at the
    national level;
   Assist with the SRSG’s reports to the Human
    Rights Council;
   Liaise with law firms providing pro bono
    assistance; and
   Coordinate, participate in and represent the
    SRSG at multi-stakeholder consultations.
    Australia and business and human
                   rights

   Australian companies are increasingly realizing they need to learn
    more about the possible human rights risks of their operations.
   Various legislative developments highlight that Australian
    legislators are thinking about these issues: Commonwealth
    Criminal Code; Victorian Human Rights Charter; ACT Human
    Rights Act.
   HREOC provides information on this issue on its website.
   Institutions/organizations currently working on business and
    human rights include:
     •   Law firms;
     •   Consulting firms;
     •   University affiliated organizations;
     •   NGOs;
     •   Corporations (increasingly have persons responsible for CSR, which
         may include a focus on business and human rights.)
    More information on business and
              human rights?
   SRSG’s website: http://www.business-
    humanrights.org/Documents/Ruggie-Copenhagen-8-9-Nov-2007.pdf.

   Sign up for weekly updates from the Business and Human Rights Resource
    Centre: http://www.business-
    humanrights.org/Updates/newsletter_register_form

   Work from Allens Arthur Robinson on business and human rights in
    Australia:
     • Report on the Asia-Pacific region: http://www.reports-and-
       materials.org/Legal-brief-on-Asia-Pacific-for-Ruggie-Aug-2006.pdf
     • Report on corporate culture as a basis for corporate criminal
       liability: http://www.reports-and-materials.org/Allens-Arthur-
       Robinson-Corporate-Culture-paper-for-Ruggie-Feb-2008.pdf
     • Report on a corporate responsibility to respect in Australia:
       http://www.reports-and-materials.org/AAR-Ruggie-Mar-2008.pdf

   Check out HREOC’s site on corporate social responsibility:
    http://www.hreoc.gov.au/human_rights/corporate_social_responsibility/ind
    ex.html
              How I got here
   BA. LLB (HONS) (Monash University)
   Internship with the Australian Delegation
    to the Commission on Human Rights
    (Geneva)
   Internship with the Office of the High
    Commissioner for Human Rights (Geneva)
   Competition Group, Mallesons Stephen
    Jaques (Melbourne) – pro bono work for
    the Australian Red Cross; member of
    firm’s Human Rights Group; LIV’s Human
    Rights Committee
   LLM (Harvard University)
    TIPS FOR WORKING IN HUMAN
              RIGHTS
   Take human rights law subjects during
    your law degree
   Volunteer work / Internships /Writing
   Good legal training while still maintaining
    interest and contacts in human rights
   Masters may be required or desirable,
    particularly for UN positions
   Attend seminars/conferences and don’t be
    afraid to ask people for advice and
    contacts

				
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