Since the Guiding Principles on Business and Human Rights were endorsed by the United National Human Rights Council in 2011, the “Business and Human Rights” perspective for business to fulfill its responsibility to respect human rights has had an enormous impact on domestic and foreign laws and regulations, rules at international organizations, national governments and public institutions, legal practices by corporations, investors and financial institutions, and measures regarding SDGs (Sustainable Development Goals) and ESG (Environmental, Social and Governance).
The BHR Lawyers was established based on a common understanding that we need to take action in our respective positions as legal professionals to fill the gaps in recognition that exist between the business sector and other stakeholders, and to promote dialogue and cooperation to ensure the access to remedies. It is also a part of our response to the call by the UN Working Group on Business and Human Rights for a Global Probono Lawyers Network.
Whether we practice business law or human rights law, as legal specialists, we should aim to play proactive roles as “BHR (Business and Human Rights) Lawyers” who can offer various perspectives on issues and solutions surrounding Business and Human Rights. With this in mind, we endeavor to share and develop knowledge related to Business and Human Rights to achieve our common goals of the respect for human rights and the promotion of dialogue and remedy.
By ensuring a certain degree of independence and neutrality as an organization, the BHR Lawyers makes it accessible for various legal specialists to contribute, regardless of whether they work in business law practices or in human rights advocacy. Our activities are aimed at promoting the improvement of legal practices and the systems that support them. Therefore, as an organization as a whole, we do not plan to engage with activities to provide support for specific cases or groups.
Considering that the flexibility is essential in responding to rapidly changing times, to the extent that it is not inconsistent with our purpose, the BHR Lawyers endeavors to be an organization in which various participants are free to exchange information and initiate activities within the scope of our purpose. We are especially committed to being a space for younger members and women to contribute.
The BHR Lawyers actively coordinates with various institutions and organizations in Japan and abroad, and promotes both inbound and outbound dissemination of information.
To provide an information-sharing platform for the advancement of practices related to Business and Human Rights, the BHR Lawyers plan to collaborate with related organizations in Japan and abroad and actively host and implement workshops, events, projects and other activities.
Currently, we are considering research and project themes such as:
Legal practices and human rights DD (introducing HRDD into M&A, using blockchains for HRDD, etc.);
Collective actions for responsible supply chain;
Remedy funds and schemes related to Business and Human Rights;
Arbitration rules and structures related to Business and Human Rights;
Business and Human Rights and gender;
Business and Human Rights in sports; and
Precedents and case studies on Business and Human Rights in various jurisdictions.
Our logo was created by designer Taro Kagami to represent the waxing and waning of the moon. In the same way that the moon shines bright in the night, reflects the light of the sun, and changes depending on the angle from which it is seen, it is our wish to shed light in darkness, join hands with business and civil society, and offer different perspectives that help mediate issues and contribute to constructive solutions.