(by Boshra Yazahmeidi)
Non-judicial mechanisms alone are not sufficient for redress, but can still play an important role in supporting communities seeking to protect their human rights. This was a key finding from a 5-year research project that has resulted in the publication of 19 reports.
The project concluded that while non-judicial redress mechanisms cannot be a substitute for judicial mechanisms, they can fill important gaps and complement the judicial forms if done well. They can do this through:
- Providing assistance to communities to access and use non-judicial redress mechanisms effectively
- Supporting fact-finding and investigative processes
- Reinforcing rather than substituting government regulation and/or civil society campaigns
- Developing strong connections to organisations in host country jurisdictions
- Possessing strong sources of leverage and legitimacy
Corporate Accountability Research, which conducted the project, defines non-judicial redress mechanisms as those “that lie in the space between voluntary and legally binding mechanisms”, and as such, are “mandated to receive complaints and help resolve disputes, but are not empowered to produce binding adjudications”.
The research project emerged out of an urgent need to provide vulnerable communities and workers with a more effective means to defend their human rights from violation by businesses based elsewhere in the world. Non-judicial redress mechanisms have emerged where judicial mechanisms are too costly, have significant time constraints, or are just inaccessible due to jurisdiction issues. As such, it was important to evaluate the effectiveness of these non-judicial mechanisms and advise on how best they can be used.
The 19 reports can be divided into three categories: country and cross-country reports; reports of community attempts to gain redress using grievance mechanisms; and reports about specific non-judicial human rights mechanisms.