In the past decade, the concept and practice of human rights law has evolved from being solely concerned with the rights of citizens in relation to the state, to the responsibility of businesses to respect human rights in their economic activities and operations. The impacts of business activities in distant countries can impact financing, enforcement, remedies, and business reputations in the U.S.
U.S. environmental and civil rights values are being utilized worldwide and adopted into formal laws, in the form of voluntary or aspirational codes of conduct, and as part of corporate social responsibility policies. We have decades of experience advising clients on emerging international norms and their increasing application in the U.S., as well as advising clients on whether and how to participate in international endeavors such as the ICMM and IRMA.
While international bodies such as the United Nations Committee on the Eradication of Racial Discrimination and the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights deal with the rights of citizens vis-a-vis their governments, increasingly these are being used to challenge government approvals of private projects on the basis of alleged cultural and land rights violations in regard to indigenous and environmental justice communities.
The application of international and domestic human and civil rights laws and business social responsibility has become so intertwined that most companies, regardless of location, should be aware of these emerging issues.
DGS attorneys have worked in indigenous issues and sustainability in multiple industries for decades. Examples of the firm’s experience in this area include:
- Counseling clients on the impact of and monitor proceedings before the United Nations Committee on the Eradication of Racial Discrimination and Inter-American Commission on Human Rights
- Assisting clients in various industries, including mining and energy, with the development and implementation of corporate social responsibility practices and policies
- Advising clients on the applicability and implications of environmental justice principles in connection with environmental cleanups, federal administrative rulemakings, and energy and other development projects on federal and tribal lands
- Representing clients in negotiations with indigenous and other communities to obtain social license to operate in various jurisdictions
- Human rights due diligence in acquisitions, mergers and financings, including evaluation of host country legal regimes, indigenous and cultural rights and home country requirements for reporting