When Business Harms Human Rights

When Business Harms Human Rights

Affected Communities that Are Dying to Be Heard

Edited by Karen Erica Bravo
Jena Martin
Tara L. Van Ho

“When Business Harms Human Rights” narrates the experiences of different individuals and communities from around the world, examining the impact that business activities has had on their lives. The volume is situated within the multidisciplinary subject area of business and human rights.

Hardback, 260 Pages


April 2020

£80.00, $125.00

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About This Book

The contemporary business and human rights regime speaks almost exclusively to states and business entities. The absence of victim voices has been a consistent challenge within the field in general as well as within the various literature and policy proposals. This challenge is so widely recognized that, for the first time, the UN made affected communities’ access to remedies the central theme at the November 2017 Forum on Business and Human Rights.

“When Business Harms Human Rights” is timely, exploring many of the key themes from the forum and offers an in-depth analysis of business-related human rights impacts and the challenges experienced by rightsholders in accessing remedies. The volume relies on reported narratives of and qualitative data on various incidents where businesses have intersected with affected communities. It allows the voice of the rightsholders to be heard and presents initial ideas regarding best practices that governments and businesses can undertake when engaging with communities. Most importantly, however, this edited volume engages with a larger audience primarily from the perspective of affected rightsholders.

The volume stands as a first-of-its-kind. Indeed, of the scholarly books currently published within the field of business and human rights, none have provided narratives from rightsholders or made their perspectives the center of the narrative.


"This is an important book that provides an overview how communities are affected negatively by business activities and their struggles to access remedies. The editors recognise that these are not necessarily new stories considering their main themes, but they are particular stories, which remind us of our shared humanity. — Hannah Gracher, Nordic Journal of Human Rights "

‘Martin, Bravo and Van Ho brilliantly put rights holders back on the map and in the middle of debates about the law and policy of business and human rights. When Business Harms Human Rights should be on the bookshelf of anyone with a serious interest in the field.’ —Larry Catá Backer, W. Richard and Mary Eshelman Faculty Scholar Professor of Law and International Affairs, Pennsylvania State University, USA

‘This book is an attempt to place rights holders at the centre of business and human rights. I hope that powerful stories in this book will move both governments and companies to act with a sense of urgency to safeguard all human rights of everyone and everywhere.’ —Surya Deva, Associate Professor, City University of Hong Kong

Author Information

Jena Martin is professor of law at West Virginia University College of Law, USA. Her scholarship is in the field of business and human rights, where she has written extensively on many issues, including the intersection of securities regulation with human rights impacts.

Karen E. Bravo is vice dean and professor of law at the Indiana University Robert H. McKinney School of Law, USA. Her research interests include business and human rights, regional integration, labor liberalization, slavery and human trafficking.

Tara L. Van Ho is lecturer at the University of Essex School of Law and Human Rights Center, UK. Her main research interests are business and human rights; investment law and human rights; economic, social and cultural rights (particularly the privatization of the delivery of ESCRs, extraterritorial obligations, and international assistance and cooperation in the area of ESCRs); and transitional justice.


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Table of Contents

Preface; Acknowledgements; Introduction; Chapter 1 Complicity in False Arrest, Imprisonment and Theft by a Fairtrade-Certifi ed Company, Madeline Hung; Chapter 2 Hindrances to Access to a Remedy in Business- Related Cases in Colombia: The Case of Gilberto Torres, Piergiuseppe Parisi and Gareth Sims; Chapter 3 The Global Pursuit for Justice for DBCP- Exposed Banana Farmers, Daysheelyn Anne P. Brillo; Chapter 4 The Rupturing of the Dam and the Community’s Social Fabric: A Testimony from an ‘Atingido’ from Bento Rodrigues, Brazil, Rajiv Maher and Adriana Bravin; Chapter 5 Taming the Dragon, Unpacking Options for Access to Remedy for Violations by Chinese Multinational Corporations Operating in Chiadzwa, Zimbabwe, Bellinda Chinowawa; Chapter 6 Máxima Acuña: The Story of How a Business Impacted Human Rights Defenders, Marianne Bertrand and Ariadna Tovar; Chapter 7 Community Interrupted, ‘Life Projects’ Disrupted: Cajamarca, Ibagué, and the La Colosa Mine in Colombia, Tara L. Van Ho with residents of Cajamarca Ibague and surrounding areas; Chapter 8 Occupational Health as a Human Right: A Case Study in a Turkish Free Trade Zone, Cigdem Cimrin and Yucel Demiral; Chapter 9 The Price of the ‘Black Dollar’: Veteran Coal Miners and the Right to Health, Jennifer D. Oliva with contributions from Jena Martin; Chapter 10 Abandoned: A Tale of Two Mine Closures in South Africa, Michael Clemens and Maria Isabel Cubides; Conclusion; Appendices; List of Contributors; Index.


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