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Business and Human Rights: Toolbox for Human Rights Defenders

May 9th
19:00 - 22:00
Business and Human Rights: Toolbox for Human Rights Defenders

How can human rights defenders at risk access the vast range of international instruments available to them? The Human Rights Defenders’ Toolbox provides defenders at risk and vulnerable communities with essential tools for them to advocate, report and tackle the root causes of conflicts originated in the context of business and human rights.

Join PBI UK and international law firm Simmons & Simmons for a live webinar and Q&A session. Chris Owen, a Partner specialising in Business and Human Rights and Victoria Channing, Pro Bono Manager at Simmons & Simmons, along with PBI UK Director Susi Bascon, will share information about the Human Rights Defenders’ Toolbox and its practical application.

The Human Rights Defenders’ Toolbox comprises a range of legal fact sheets designed to inform and assist human rights defenders working on land rights or business and human rights.

The Toolbox is comprised of 16 fact sheets on different legal topics to be used by HRDs in their daily work. This is the first centralised online resource for rural communities and lawyers.

The aim of the Toolbox is to assist HRDs in identifying which international human rights instruments from across the international human rights spectrum (UN Guiding Principles and beyond) might apply to their cases, how these instruments interlink and, crucially, what practical steps can be taken.

The fact sheets are organised in three groups and focus on the following topics:

  1. The obligations of companies to respect human rights, as set out in the United Nations Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (human rights policy statements, human rights due diligence, grievance mechanisms and remediation, use of leverage).
  2. The obligations of states to develop policy strategies to protect against adverse human rights impacts by business enterprises in conformity with the UNGPs (National Action Plans and their evaluation).
  3. Advice for HRDs when confronted with trends in repression (Free Prior and Informed Consent, Private military and security companies, Mass tort claims and parent company liability, Environmental hazards and degradation, Operating in conflict affected areas, International displacement and resettlement of communities).

The project seeks to address the fact that, despite the existence of these international principles, gaps in their implementation mean that HRDs confronting corporate interests still face escalating violence. The Toolbox helps to provide them with the resources that might help defenders document, report and expose corporate abuses.


  • Introduction to the Toolbox and the reason for its production (a presentation by Simmons & Simmons/PBI).
  • Presentation of a pilot scheme taking place in Honduras/Colombia (where the Toolbox is being used at a local level) – including a discussion of the success of the pilot and learning points.
  • Comments/questions.


The key aim of this Webinar is to raise the profile of the Toolbox and to ensure that it is being used by those who will find it most useful.

Following the Webinar, PBI will invite HRDs to apply to become “Trainers” of the Toolbox. In their application to become Trainers, individuals will indicate which subjects addressed in the Toolbox would be most useful to understand in greater detail. These subjects would form the basis of 3 remote training sessions (to be attended by the Trainers).

The Trainers, in turn, will then provide training to HRDs in their own jurisdiction.

Please have a look at the toolbox prior to the webinar; it can be found in English and Spanish here.

Please bring your questions! We hope you can join us. We need to support each other in these trying times.

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