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International Conference on Business and Human Rights


Conference venue: Seville, Spain
Period: 20-21 October 2016
Deadline for submitting abstracts: 5 May 2016

Description of the Conference

Since the endorsement of the UN Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights (UNGPs) by the UN Human Rights Council five years ago (16 June 2011), the understanding of adverse impacts of human rights violations by international business has evolved. This evolution takes place in the context of a truly globalized economy which is characterized by value chains covering the globe. These developments have led to a proliferation of ways in which business try to (or have to) deal with human rights. Examples of initiatives include National Action Plans which have been developed on the basis of the UNGPs, the rise of business led initiatives and practices, the emergence of non-state market regulatory initiatives such as voluntary sustainability standards, regulatory initiatives forcing companies to be more transparent and requiring them to report on their activities, etc. The UNGPs’ influence on other instruments of international business governance (e.g., OECD’s Guidelines for Multinational Enterprises) and regulatory policies (e.g., EU policies on CSR and the new Non-Financial Reporting Directive) offer new prospects as well as challenges for promoting human rights in business operations.
This international conference will explore these different ways in which the governance gap between global businesses and the protection of human rights can be addressed. The aim of thi conference is to bring together scholars from different disciplines to identify and examine a wide range of issues that arise in the  application and conceptualization of the UNGPs.
We encourage participation from scholars from different backgrounds, , including but not limited to: international public and private law, business ethics, management and economics, corporate governance, political science and sociology.

Eligible topics for the conference

Possible topics for papers include:

  • The effectiveness of voluntary standards to address human rights issues in value chains.
  • Public ‘smart-mix’ regulation to promote the respect for human rights within business
  • The meaning and operationalization of human rights due diligence requirements
  • The role of National Action Plans developed on the basis of the UNGPs and the difference in national action plans from a comparative perspective
  • The extent to and ways in which the UNGPs have furthered access to justice of stakeholders in relation to corporate human rights abuses.
  • The role of Corporate Social Responsibility (CSR) in the protection of human rights and effects of (potential) differences among obligations taken on by international businesses.
  • The manner in which multi-stakeholder collaboration promotes the development of norms relating to business and human rights
  • The existence, conceptualisation and impact of transparency measures to foster proper human rights conduct by firms.
  • The interaction between regulations and voluntary corporate action and the influence hereof on the protection of human rights.
  • Business led initiatives to tackle human rights issues in the value chain
  • Human rights risk management
  • Implementation of the UNGPs in the practices of private actors, including operational challenges in relation to human rights in business practices
  • The Sustainable Development Goals and Human Rights and Business

Conceptual and empirical papers are welcome. Papers might also focus on specific human rights issues, business initiatives and/or countries.

Guidelines for submission

Proposals for papers (abstracts) should not exceed 500 words (excluding affiliation and contact details).
Proposals should be sent as an email attachment to:;;

Deadline for proposal submissions (abstract): 5 th May 2016.
Selection of papers will be completed by 15 thof June 2016.
Full papers are to be delivered by 10th October 2016.


Information & contacts

For more information, please contact


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